Repeated fuel price hike, political instability to hit GDP growth: DCCIStaff Correspondent
The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday expressed its concern that frequent price hike of fuel oils and electricity and political instability might impede achievement of the government’s target of 7.2 per cent GDP growth for the current fiscal year.
‘Achieving the projected 7.2 per cent growth would be very challenging mainly due to a slower growth in the industrial and service sectors, internal and external demand, and overall investment,’ DCCI president Sabur Khan said at a press conference at the chamber’s auditorium in the city.
The country would be able to achieve the projected growth if the government takes precautions, but it would fail to attain the growth if political confrontation intensifies and the trend of raising fuel oils and electricity prices continues, he said.
He urged both ruling and opposition parties to ensure political stability for higher growth and economic advancement.
‘The political situation prevailing in the country is not conducive to business.’
Maintaining political stability is one of the main incentives for business and political stability is a must for the country’s balanced development, Sabur said.
Quoting a recent study conducted by the DCCI, Sabur said, ‘The economy faces a loss of around $200 million for one day general strike.’
The government can build a bridge on the River Padma with the money the country loses for general strike in 15 days, he said.
The DCCI president said that entrepreneurs were unable to run or expand their business activities as they were not getting enough bank loans due to a higher interest rate.
‘The interest rate should be cut down to single digit.’
Demanding immediate gas and electricity connections to the newly-established industrial units, he said that many factories remained non operational due to the absence of power connections.
On the issue of GSP facility in the USA, he said that the government should resolve the problem through negotiation.
‘The export earnings, which remained sluggish due to the global recession, would face crisis, if the USA cancels the facility for the Bangladeshi products.’
A cancellation of the GSP facility in the US market will also put a negative impact on the Bangladesh’s exports to other countries, he said.
Urging the government not to increase the prices of fuel oils and electricity again, he said that the price hike of fuel oils and electricity several times by the current government had already increased the cost of production and pushed the local industries towards severe challenges in the international market.
To make the share market vibrant, he proposed the government reduce tax rate on profit of the listed companies, encourage non-listed and new companies to be listed and attract people by reducing bank interest rate to invest in the market.
He also demanded withdrawal of the service charge on check clearing under Bangladesh Automated Clearing House and tax on opening of local letter of credit imposed by Bangladesh Bank recently.
These charges will put additional burden on the businessmen and will discourage people to transact through the banking channel, he said.
DCCI senior vice-president Nessar Maksud Khan and vice-president Absar Karim Chowdhury were present, among other, at the conference.
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