Shop owners on Sunday demanded that the government should allow shops and markets to open across the country beginning on April 22.
The Bangladesh Shop Owners’ Association at a press conference at New Market in the capital Dhaka made the demand.
Leaders of the trade body also demanded Tk 48,000 crore in a stimulus package for the small-scale traders to pay two months’ wages and festival allowances to their 2.14 crore workers before Eid-ul-Fitr.
They urged the government to bring all under vaccination within the next three months instead of imposing ‘lockdown’ to save the economy.
Md Helal Uddin, president of the association, said that the government should allow them to open shops following health guidelines.
He claimed that shop owners had become the worst victim of the ‘lockdown’.
He said that country’s shop owners incurred huge losses in 2020 as the government imposed restrictions just before the Bengali New Year and Ramadan to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
Like the previous year, the traders this year also missed the business of Bengali New Year and Ramadan due to the ‘lockdown’, Helal said.
He said that the government imposed weeklong restrictions on business activities and public movement from April 5 and only shops and markets were closed during the period and the activities of other sectors were normal.
Amid the complete ‘lockdown’ starting from April 14, factories, banks, kitchen markets and movement of people with pass remained as usual but the restriction was mandatory only for the shop owners, Helal said.
To protect around 53.72 lakh shop owners and the employment of more than 2 crore workers, the government should allow the small traders to open their shops beginning on April 22, he said.
Bangladesh Shop Owners’ Association secretary general Zahirul Haque Bhuiyan also spoke at the press conference.
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