One shutdown means Tk 1,600cr losses
A day of shutdown causes a loss of Tk 1,600 crore to the country's businesses of all segments -- from exports to retail shops, a leading chamber said in a survey yesterday.
The country faces, on average, 40 days of shutdown a year, which means the financial losses stand at Tk 64,000 crore or 6.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.
The garment sector takes the hardest blow, counting a Tk 360 crore loss from a one-day shutdown.
“The survey only covered the issues that directly impact the GDP. Other factors, such as physical or time losses, were not considered,” said A Sabur Khan, DCCI president.
Khan shared the survey results at a press briefing on the "ongoing political crisis and its impact on the economy" at the chamber's office in the capital.
“Had there been no political unrest, we could have achieved GDP growth at 12-13 percent instead of the existing 6-7 percent,” the DCCI chief said.
Political demonstrations are taking place everywhere, even in the commercial hub of Motijheel in Dhaka, Khan said.
Opposition parties enforced shutdowns for 22 days so far this year.
“As businessmen, we don't want to talk about politics. Now we cannot but raise our voice to save the business community as well as the economy,” he said.
All the political issues, including a fair mechanism for the upcoming national election, will have to be resolved only by the political parties in power and opposition, he added.
“We are not directly involved in politics. Neither it's our duty to solve political problems nor we can identify any solution,” he said.
Khan urged the parties to sit in dialogues for an immediate solution.
The DCCI president said the country is yet to get a "transparent and permanent" election mechanism.
“The government is saying that the next election will be fair, while the main opposition demands the polls should be held under a caretaker government.”
“Our request would be to go for a transparent and permanent election mechanism through discussion,” he said.
The chamber recommended formation of a “citizen council” comprising senior citizens, businesspeople, media representatives, academics and experts who will not be involved in politics or participate in election in future.
The council will put forward acceptable recommendations that, if necessary, can be placed in parliament, Khan said.
He requested the opposition parties to keep the export-oriented industries out of the purview of shutdowns.
“We also urge the government to provide special security during hartal days to export-oriented transportation, especially between Dhaka and Chittagong.”
He said time has come to "prepare a guideline on how and when to enforce shutdowns".
Two political parties are fighting for who will go to power, he said, adding that the political culture did not change at all.