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Too concerned or attuned to ad hocism?  

Khawaza Main Uddin   | Published: August 06, 2019 22:22:46 | Updated: August 07, 2019 21:30:39


The whole country has been overwhelmed by the outbreak of dengue fever that has claimed at least 18 lives. About 25,000 people have so far been infected with the mosquito-borne disease but the social media posts suggest millions fear they might be bitten by the 'killer' aedes any time anywhere.

This issue is preceded by the flood that hit sprawling villages in around 20 districts. The 'panic' of mosquito has just gripped all including the media, so much so that other issues have been relegated to the back stage.

The sharp decline in price of rice (paddy) during the harvesting season seems to be a matter of remote past. The plight of farmers, losers on account of both fall in rice price and floods has gone out of focus.

In between, rumours of abduction of children led to killing and mass beating of some apparently innocent persons.

Suddenly, in the wake of record-breaking infections, the national focus is directed to combating mosquitoes, cleaning urban space, correcting health governance, putting in place hospital infrastructure and removing tariffs on import of dengue test kit.

We've been immune to the fact that road accidents killed thousands of people in recent years and there were student demonstrations twice demanding safe roads.

The nation has unconditionally capitulated to congestion in cities and tailback on the highways. Bangladesh, according to the World Bank, loses at least Tk 370 billion a year due only to traffic jam in Dhaka city where the citizens waste 3.8 million working hours every day.

Each individual in this growing country has his/her own unique business outside of home almost every day and they have to face rising costs of doing business, whatsoever. The word congestion has not even excused the country's main seaport.

The issue of traffic congestion was identified as a major barrier to improving business atmosphere a few decades ago. Similarly, the issue of bringing down the interest rate on loans to what is euphemistically called 'single digit', is being discussed by businessmen and policymakers alike for years.

When it comes to issuance of a Bangladesh Bank circular asking the banks to lower the rate, the matter should already have been settled positively by the competitive market forces.

Shortly before passage of the current fiscal year's budget, the business community, spearheaded by some leaders of the country's apex trade body, expressed its concern over possible escalation of costs of products and services as a result of introduction of the new VAT (value added tax) law since July this year.

Its impact on businesses and consumers is yet to be seen but the people have already been drawn to yet another new issue.

In the age of digitisation and globalisation, perhaps everyone in this country is living with 'mosquito-phobia' since people know at least one dengue patient.

However, some traders are reportedly making windfall profit from sales of mosquito repellents, nets and other products, following the dengue outbreak. As they are taking advantage of vulnerability of the scared customers, the traders are being cursed but they argued growing demand amid supply scarcity of such products led to the price hike.

We are the ones who live in constant crisis and are appreciated for showing resilience. Finding solution to difficulties, people in most businesses still have to pay certain price as they could never be free from ad hoc arrangements.

 

khawaza@gmail.com

 

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