Bangladeshi restaurateurs push for reopening
FE REPORT |
May 23, 2021, 10:55 a.m.
The Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association (BROA) urged the government on Saturday to allow them to resume their activities from Sunday in accordance with health guidelines.
They also threatened to take to the streets if the authorities did not allow them to immediately resume restaurant activities across the country.
In addition, they demanded easy term loans as part of financing SMEs under the incentive program announced by the government last year to help them recover from losses caused by the pandemic.
The requests were made during a press conference at the association’s office in the Purana Paltan area of the city.
Chaired by BROA President Hazi Md Usman Gani, BROA General Secretary Imran Hasan, Vice President Shah Sultan Khokon and First Co-Secretary General Firoz Ahmed Suman, among others, also spoke during the program.
Presenting the written statement, Mr. Hasan said there were around 60,000 hotels and restaurants across the country with at least 3.0 million people working directly.
He said a significant number of workers have found themselves unemployed due to the restrictions induced by Covid over the past 14 months, but none of them have obtained financial support from the incentive program of the government.
“Under such circumstances, we demand the reopening of our hotels and restaurants across the country from Sunday (today) with strict adherence to health guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.
“We will even agree if the government lets us open the restaurants while keeping 50 percent of the space vacant,” added Hasan.
He also said authorities were allowing restaurants to continue take-out, parcel and online delivery services, but only 2-3 percent of restaurants were able to offer such services.
“If the government does not allow restaurants to resume operations by Sunday, we could hold a protest rally outside the National Press Club with kitchen utensils in our hands,” BROA general secretary said.
For the survival of the restaurant industry, BROA executives urged the government to provide the industry with unsecured or long-term loans from the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Sector Incentive Program.
They also called for reducing the surtax on restaurant utility bills and collecting VAT and taxes flexibly.
All restaurants in the country remained closed as the government imposed restrictions on April 05 to stem the second wave of coronavirus transmission which will end on May 23 because authorities had not yet extended the lockdown until the filing of this report around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.