Most businesspeople in the country are forced to pay a section of politicians for the sake of their lives and businesses, a top business leader has said.
“Most politicians feed on our money. We pay this money for our existence. We don't give it willingly,” AK Azad, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), said yesterday.
According to him, it is the case now as it had been in the past.
Without naming any, Azad said: “We cannot respect politicians as we see one face of them before their becoming lawmakers and ministers and another face afterwards."
The top business leader was speaking at a seminar titled "Entrepreneurship: What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur" at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.
Bangladesh Youth Leadership Centre, a platform of youths, organised the three-day event with a theme “Leading Bangladesh into the future: a journey of exploration.”
Azad said the country's GDP growth would have increased by 2 percentage points if the politicians were honest.
Annisul Huq, former president of FBCCI and Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry, echoed Azad's view, saying the society has become such a place where the business community has to "buy their own protection".
“You've to pay ransom to the influential people if you want to be an influential person. This is an open secret now,” said Annisul.
He was also of the same view as Azad's that the young generation should come forward to cleanse the society.
Speaking on the state of media, Azad said there were two groups that ran the country's media organisations.
"While one section runs media outlets for raising voices against sufferings of the common people, the other group does it only to protect its businesses," he added.
The second group of people have thousands of acres of land, and the state machinery helps them grab more, alleged Azad, who is also the publisher of Bangla daily Samakal.
Geeteara Safiya Choudhury, chairman of Adcomm Ltd, and Salahuddin Kasem Khan, managing director of AK Khan & Company Ltd, also spoke on the occasion.