Gone are the days of hartal
Gone are the days of hartal.
So said Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday.
“You cannot call hartal anymore even if you want it, because the pace of economic progress will stop hartal,” Muhith said after a foundation-laying ceremony of the second building of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in the city's Hatkhola area yesterday.
There is no chance to look behind as the economy is progressing at a faster rate, he said.
Echoing the views of the minister, FBCCI President AK Azad said the political unrest will paralise the economy.
“We want both the government and the opposition party to get rid of the hartal culture,” Azad said.
“We, along with foreign investors, are in a dilemma whether we will invest further or not due to frequent strikes,” he said.
“People don't want the democracy that allows killing of human beings. Businesspeople don't want the democracy that does not allow business activities,” Azad said.
“Please think for a while about the businesses before calling a hartal,” he said.
Azad said, even four years ago the size of the national budget was at around Tk 92,000 crore of which Tk 64,000 crore was collected from the businesses as revenues.
The size of the national budget for the upcoming fiscal year will be at Tk 198,000 crore of which Tk 112,000 crore will come from the businesses as revenues, he said.
Azad also urged the government to maintain a stable bank interest rate for the sake of economic growth and investment.
Former FBCCI president Annisul Huq called for a neutral role of the apex trade body in the political affairs of the country.
Businesspeople across the country face a lot of troubles due to the absence of chamber offices at the district level, Huq said.
The federation has already bought lands for 33 chambers in different districts, he said.
Another former FBCCI president, Salman F Rahman, said the trade body will have to be financially strong to play more roles in the economy.
Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed, a representative of the Bangladesh Association of Banks, said the bank interest rate is stable now.
Akram Hossain, another former FBCCI president, said the culture of strikes will take a toll on the economy.
The FBCCI bought 14 kathas of land with a government's fund at Hatkhola in Dhaka at a cost of Tk 15 crore and it has a plan to construct a 10-storey building mainly to accommodate the trade associations and chambers across the country.