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Dhaka Tribune

Prolonged blockades cause visible slump in economic activity

  • Wholesale markets desolate
  • Small traders suffering more
Update : 11 Nov 2023, 04:21 PM

The nationwide blockades for the past few days have dealt a severe blow to the country's business landscape, leaving wholesale markets desolate and causing a week-long economic slump.

The impact has spread over areas like New Market, Chandni Market, Eastern Plaza, Elephant Road, Farmgate, Gulistan Market, Shantinagar, Kakrail, Mouchak Market, Rampura-Badda, Mirpur, Dhanmondi, Gulshan-Banani, and Uttara in Dhaka.

Nawabpur, Chawkbazar, Islampur, Babubazar, Shankharibazar, Moulvibazar, and Bangabazar, also witnessed a decline in trade activities.

Dewan Aminul Islam, president of Dhaka New Market Traders’ Association, said that sales were very low during the blockade.

“There are no buyers. Small traders are suffering more. If the blockade continues, then we will be the most affected,” he said.

Employees at Olympia Bakeryshop in the Baitul Mukarram area similarly report a decline in sales. They have resorted to a shift toward alternative sales strategies within familiar networks.

Sabuj, a tea vendor at Paltan intersection, said his shop faced a significant contraction in sales over the past week.

“I make Tk10,000-12,000 per day. Now it’s Tk2,000-3,000," he said.

Farooq Hasan, president of BGMEA, told UNB: “The sector was already suffering from a shortage of buyers in the international market. Now, due to internal political instability, we have to face a more difficult situation. As a result, not only the export sector will be affected, but the entire economy of the country will be affected. It will also affect the reserves.”

Mohammad Hatem, executive president of BKMEA, expressed concern over escalating losses among traders.

“The internal transportation of goods has been severely impeded. Industrial production witnessed a decline. Export sector is especially vulnerable to the ongoing blockade,” he said.

The Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) President Abdus Salam Murshedi told UNB that due to the blockade, businesses cannot collect the raw materials stuck at various ports due to the transportation crisis.

Mahbubul Alam, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), called for a collective reconsideration of the ongoing strike blockade.

“Such programs, if prolonged, may lead to a standstill in the wheels of the economy,” he said.

On October 29, a hartal was observed across the country called by BNP and other like-minded opposition parties. After the three-day blockade on October 31, the blockade continued on November 5-6, and after the two-day blockade, it continued on November 8 and 9 with a one-day break.

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