BANGLADESH: Firms seek government support to rebuild businesses
Business leaders in Bangladesh are planning to set up a special taskforce to work on rebuilding the nation's image with the slogan "Bangladesh is back in business".
Meeting with new Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed earlier this week, they also urged the government to provide financial incentives and policy support as they go about rebuilding their businesses following disruption caused by three months of political turmoil in the country in the run-up to the general election on 5 January.
The ready-made garment sector has also faced factory safety issues and blockades and shutdowns as workers protested for a rise in the minimum wage, as well as incurring additional costs of sending good by airfreight in order to meet delivery deadlines.
"2013 was an unlucky year for Bangladesh. We want to turn things around in 2014," said Atiqul Islam, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), added: "Bangladesh is now considered a model for businesses across the globe for its resilience and potential, but we are failing to make the best of it due to our domestic politics."
AK Azad, former president of the FBCCI, also urged the government to take steps to improve gas and power supplies, complete the construction of two additional lanes on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway, and reduce bank interest rates.
The Commerce Minister said the government would set up an advisory committee to help solve business-related problems - and promised to do everything possible to promote the business sector.
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