Dhaka regime plans to talk economics with politicians

July 9th, 2008 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, July 9 (IANS) Enthused by partial success in its dialogue with the political parties, Bangladesh’s military-backed interim government is planning to discuss economic issues with the parties ahead of elections. The idea is to apprise them of the need for continued economic development as the country returns to democracy by December.

The planned dialogue on economic issues is aiming to reach a consensus with the parties on certain issues, especially keeping trade union and political activities restrained after the country’s return to democracy.

The main focus of the talks will be to make political parties agree to avoid programmes like hartal (general shut down) and blockade at least for a period to keep the economy unharmed after the general elections planned towards the year-end, said an official at the Chief Adviser’s Office.

“Keeping the country’s business and economy unhurt in the post-election period is the prime objective of holding such a dialogue,’ the official, who preferred not to be named, told New Age newspaper.

To this end, the government will want the parties to clearly spell out their economic policies in their respective manifestos discouraging “destructive programmes in the name of politics,” the official said.

The general elections were called off in January last year amidst political turmoil and violence for several weeks that affected economic activity.

Subsequent data released by the government and research bodies have shown an economic slowdown, the investors moving away and a fall in export orders.

Among the worst affected was the textile, readymade garments and knitwear sector that is Bangladesh’s highest foreign exchange earner.

While the interim government clamped down on the political activities and nabbed several politicians on graft charges, the economic recovery became difficult because of lack of investor confidence and a spate of floods and a cyclone.

Late last year, the government altered its approach to graft by treating businessmen on a different keel than the politicians and setting up a high level to refurbish confidence among the economic community.

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