Seeking security, top business leaders on Sunday sent out a strong message for two top leaders — Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia — and urged them to stop violence immediately giving space for smooth functioning of the country’s economy.
“We can’t be helpless witnesses to the gradual destruction of the sector (RMG). You (Hasina-Khaleda) can do politically whatever you like, but nobody has the right to destroy the RMG sector. The RMG sector is our pride,” President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed told reporters at a joint press conference.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President M Atiqul Islam, ICC,B President Mahbubur Raman, Bangladesh Insurance Association (BIA) Chairman Sheikh Kabir Hossain, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President M Sabur Khan, Bangladesh Textiles Mills association (BTMA) President Jahangir Alamin, leaders of chambers and association bodies and backward linkage associations were also present at the press conference held at BGMEA conference room, reports UNB.
The FBCCI President sought security from the government and sensible action from the opposition to save the RMG sector and thus save the country’s economy.
He said there is a deep-rooted conspiracy to destroy all the compliant factories in the country where thousands of people are working. “If those factories are destroyed, the country’s economy will get destroyed. So, we seek security.”
Akram Uddin said they need to be given a level-playing field to do business smoothly. “Give us space and a level-playing field. We’ll show how we can take forward the country (with economic development).”
He said the business community is united and there is no division and there should not be any division.
BGMEA President M Atiqul Islam also urged the two top leaders to stop violence. “We call upon the two leaders (Hasina-Khaleda) to stop (political) violence. The RMG sector can’t be the victim of your politics… we want security… we want to do business smoothly,” he said.
He said they seek support both from the government and the opposition for ensuring a secured environment.
Atiqul Islam said the leaders and members of the BGMEA, BKMEA (Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association) and BTMA (Bangladesh Textiles Mills Association) will meet on Monday at the BGMEA. “The next course of programmes will be announced from the meeting.”
He demanded support from the government, agencies concerned, banks and other financial institutions to rehabilitate the Standard Group which was completely destroyed through a criminal act at a critical time for Bangladesh garment.
The BGMEA chief gave a seven-day ultimatum to arrest those involved in the arson and expose them before the nation for ensuring exemplary punishment.
Standard Group is the largest single garment factory of the country which has been in operation in the most ethical way with full compliance and its clients include American Eagle, GAP, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger, KOHL’S, Sears, Abercrombie and Fitch and Gymboree.
Before the press conference, the top leaders held a lengthy meeting at the BGMEA conference room.
Meanwhile, FBCCI called on the chiefs of the two major political parties to make sure that the upcoming national election is participated by all the parties and accepted by all sections.
“It’ll be of great help to bring peace in people’s mind, and win the acceptance of all the sections by ensuring the participation of all the parties in the national election, if the two chiefs sit for dialogue,” said a statement issued by the country’s apex business body on Sunday.
“We, the people, can’t support arson activities. On the other hand, we also believe that the solution to the current crisis can’t be brought either through arson activities or through arrests,” it said.
The FBCCI observed that it is necessary to ensure that political confrontation does not hurt the progress of the country’s economy.
“The business community wants to see that the political parties make a way out through a consensus in the interest of the continuation of the momentum of the socio-economic development and prosperity,” it added.