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16th-Feb-2015

Let the business leaders play an honest role honestly

By Editorial Desk

It will be, pragmatic and timely, if the businesspeople called both the feuding parties to shun the path of violence allegedly sponsored by blockaders and state-violence by government forces, with pressure to serve the popular demand of mid-term election.
No sensible person could find any reason why a democratic minded prime minister will refuse to honour her promise to hold mid-term election she promised not to any party but to the nation as a whole. It is not necessary for anybody to say whether the January 5  election was a mockery or not.
The simple way to save the economy is for the prime minster to keep her promise. For the business leaders it is not essential to threat street politics. What is necessary is to judge the crisis honestly.
Let us be honest, because dishonesty is the main hurdle to dissolution of the crisis and do not deny that businessmen also contributed to this crisis by engaging themselves in politics. As a result the political leaders treat them as their followers and partners.
But now they are to show their impartiality in helping both the political leaders and the country at this
extremely critical time. If the prime minister cannot be persuaded to keep her promise and save the country from the ravages going on uncontrolled then it is a mistake to think that the other side will listen to them. Besides, demand of election is national and if the government is good and popular then people will vote against the opposition.
On the other hand if the government is unpopular and it is afraid of people then the business leaders should know best that they could not have the peace they need for the country' economy and their business.
The New Nation's report "Businessmen's role partisan" claimed that  an opportunity was created for the businessmen to play a more practical role to resolve the ongoing crisis, but missed.
The business community must not try to obtain undue state facility taking advantage of the ongoing political crisis. Such a gain will be short lived or not live at all.
On Thursday, the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DCCI) has demanded a 50 percent reduction in value added tax to allow the businessmen to make up for their losses due to the political unrest. The DCCI also urged the government to reduce port duties by 50 per cent and not to impose fresh taxes. The role of business to protect class interests has stunned the nation, when the country is burning, fuelled by the government and opposition, and the scope of exercising political rights, natural rights-right to live are suspended and are narrowed quickly.
Like DCCI, other chambers and trade bodies are also going to raise similar demands soon to reap the benefit from the current impasse. Business insiders said, the demands placed by businessmen are irrational and impractical when the country has plunged into a deep political crisis. Instead of putting the blame on the BNP, the businesspeople should find out the root cause of the problem which lies on the holding of an all inclusive polls.
But the incumbent president of the apex body of businesspeople -- the FBCCI said that the ongoing political violence must be stopped first and then they could press the issue to the Prime Minister for resolving the crisis.
We all want the killings and lawlessness to stop. But it requires honest and practical ideas to find a solution. If in the true sense we had politically leaders then they would not have created such a dangerous situation in which the government would be scared of the people or refuse to sit with anybody other than their own power hungry followers to restore peace in the country.
 The FBCCI chief said if the opposition alliance led by the BNP refrains from destructive political programme, the business community can broker the talks. Meanwhile, a former business leader said that the political problem should be fixed through political process and then it will be sustainable. The FBCCI chief or other leaders of business do not have that importance to the prime minister. The reason we have explained. It is our earnest request that they should try to play an honest role honestly.
 According to estimates from various chambers and associations, the country has lost $10 billion in physical damages since the blockade was launched. Every day, the economy is losing about Tk 2,277.86 crore due to the blockade and strike. The amount would stand at Tk 2,500 crore if the daily loss is calculated taking into account the 25 percent of the total industrial production loss. The blockade, which is the longest in the country's history, has cast a shadow on the government's target to achieve 7.3pc GDP growth for the fiscal year. When a society is in turmoil, as ours is now, the most important task at hand must necessarily be to restore calm.
We all know the solution is prime minister's own sacred promise and all that we need is some honest people showering honest courage. This is not the time to count how to gain personal benefits. Time is too dangerous to restore democracy and rule of law.