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Businesses want parties spell out measures of stability
Businesses expect the political parties to spell out measures to ensure stability and atmosphere suitable for trade and commerce in their election manifestoes.
Talking to New Age on Saturday, they also said that improvement of infrastructure should get special preference in the manifestoes for the general election scheduled for December 30.
The ruling Awami League and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party are expected to announce their election manifestoes by the next week.
The Communist Party of Bangladesh on Saturday made its manifesto public pledging to introduce proportional representation, reduce inequities, create employment, eradicate poverty, ensure trade unionism in all factories and protect local industries.
Business people representing leading business associations like the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association said that they would like to see the political parties to pledge to provide uninterrupted supply of gas and electricity in the energy-starved country.
They noted that expectations of the businesses must not be overlooked since the contribution of the business communities in generating employment and accelerating economic growth was higher than many other sectors.
Still, many things should be done by policymakers to improve the efficiency of the businesses, said federation president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin.
Bangladesh slipped one step down to 103th position among 140 countries in the ranking of the Global Competitiveness Index in 2018 from 102nd position in 2017 according to the ranking by World Economic Forum released in October.
Mohiuddin said that newly launched Bangladesh Investment Development Authority should be empowered to remove the barriers confronted by the businesses.
He also said that positive outlooks prevailing among the political parties should be continued so that vested interests could not create any anarchy.
Echoing Mohiuddin, BGMEA vice-president Mohammed Nasir said that they expected continuation of the ‘present business-friendly’ atmosphere.
He also emphasised infrastructural improvement in regard to higher economic growth.
Citing example of the Dhaka-Chittagong four-lane highway, he noted that the highway failed to give much needed dividend nowadays due to delay in the upgrading.
Now the businesses think that the highway should be upgraded to eight-lane as congestion continued hampering the performance of the country’s main corridor responsible for 80 per cent of the country’s sea-born frights passing through the Chittagong sea port.
BKMEA first vice-president Mansoor Ahmed said that political parties should realise that cost of doing business went up following rise in wages of workers.
The businesses should be given more incentive to offset the pressure, he said.
He lamented that single digit interest rate was yet to be implemented.
Dhaka chamber vice-president Riyadh Hossain believes that maintaining stability should be given more priority by the political parties for more prosperity of the businesses.