Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Businessmen suffer due to severe restriction

Narinjara -Businessmen, mostly Arakanese, are suffering setbacks while trading with Bangladesh because of restrictions imposed by local government authorities on the western Burma border, said a businessman in Maungdaw.

“There are various restrictions imposed by local government authorities on businessmen on the western Burma border. We cannot run our business freely. Despite having permission from the authorities to trade with Bangladesh, we are facing many restrictions,” he said.

The border security force Nasaka has imposed varied restrictions on businessmen travelling to Bangladesh without ascribing any reason.

“The Nasaka authorities allow ferry boats to leave for Teknaf in Bangladesh from Maungdaw only at 4 pm every day. It does not allow any ferry to Bangladesh at other times of the day. We are allowed a 7-day visa to visit Bangladesh but we have to go by ferry boat to Bangladesh across the Naff River,” he said.

When traders arrive in Teknaf, it is nightfall and they lose the opportunity of doing business there, he added.

Local sources say if any businessman wants to go Bangladesh with the 7-day visa, they have to submit an application to Nasaka headquarters. After Nasaka issues the permission they (businessmen) have to visit the immigration office to collect their visas.

“The Nasaka officials issue the permission around 2 pm every day. It becomes very late. It is never issued before 2 pm. After receiving permission from Nasaka we have to go to the immigration office to submit our passport for visa. The immigration office issue visas at 4 pm every day. This delays going to Bangladesh by ferry boat,” the businessman added.

Even though many businessmen face this problem every day, they have to go Bangladesh every evening.

“When we return to our town of Maungdaw from Teknaf, it is midnight. All businessmen face the problem daily. But the authorities have not changed their time table to suit businessmen,” he said.

Senior government authorities in Naypyidaw always say when they visit Maungdaw that the government encourages local businessmen to trade with Bangladesh for development of the region but in actual terms the authorities are creating problems for the businessmen in border trade.

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