Exempt us from highway ban during Eid: exporters
Garment exporters are seeking an exemption of the ban on transportation of apparel goods for a seven-day period, set to take effect three days before Eid-ul-Fitr to ease highway traffic.
“Transportation of garment goods should be kept out of purview of the restriction,” Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said.
He spoke to Communications Minister Obaidul Quader about the matter, who assured the BGMEA president of relaxing the ban for garment exporters.
“So, I hope it is business as usual for the garment makers, that they would be able to transport raw materials and finished goods as normal,” Islam told The Daily Star.
In a statement on Tuesday, the communications ministry said trucks, lorries and covered vans would be restricted from plying the highways for a seven-day period starting three days before Eid-ul-Fitr.
The vehicles carrying essentials, perishable goods and fuel, however, would be exempted from the restriction.
The move was unwelcome among the business community, particularly those involved in export and import activities.
“It is like the cutting of the head for curing headache,” said Matiur Rahman, joint secretary of Bangladesh Truck Covered Van Owners Association.
Around 80,000 commercial vehicles carry goods across the country daily, according to Rahman.
Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the country's apex trade body, called for immediate withdrawal of the ban so that all sectors can transport goods without any disruption.
“Failure to make shipment on time will also result in reduced foreign exchange earnings,” Rokia Afzal Rahman, president of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in a statement.
“Accumulation of stock-lot may create a liquidity crisis for numerous exporters and they are likely to be unable to clear the dues of the workers before Eid—this may create worker unrest.”
The delay in shipments of consignments may add to air-freight costs, according to the statement.
She, therefore, urged the government to withdraw the ban for the sake of smooth running of the country's export and import activities.