More than 6,000 event logistics support providers operate in country, that engage more than 5 lakh workers involved in light-and-sound, LED-display, visuals, generators, cameras, stage construction and decorations. Due to the sudden and severe outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic all across the world, these people in country are facing a dire situation today.
On par with the rest of the world, in Bangladesh too, activities related to this event-support industry including the events to celebrate the Mujib Centenary have all come to an abrupt halt. As a result, these enterprises overnight have fallen into a catastrophe that has cut the ground from under the feet of these five lakh workers and their families.
In the face of this hard reality, three top organizations of the event logistics providers in Bangladesh, VESPBS (Visual Equipment Service Providers Business Cooperative Society Ltd.),
LSBA (Light and Sound Business Cooperative Association Ltd.) and BSLLR (Bangladesh Sound Light and Logistics Rental Co-operative) have come together to build a new forum titled Event Logistics Support Forum of Bangladesh (ELSFOB) with a 27-member Executive Committee with Md. Fuad Shihab as its Convener, Md. Rafiqul Islam as the Member Secretary, and AZ Mamun as the Finance Secretary.
Speaking on the convening occasion, ELSFOB Convener Fuad Shihab said, we uphold the legacy of ‘Call Ready’, that has become history as being a part of the historic speech made by the great leader Bangabandhu on 7 March, 1971.
Throughout years, we have committed ourselves in providing all types of logistical support to various events undertaken by the government, semi-government and autonomous bodies including the industry-commerce-culture and the other ministries. We also organize political and non-political events including marriage, religious congregation, social and various other meetings and seminars.
Our sweaty bones start working in the dark of the night and one can only enjoy our creation revealed during the daylight. As such, all our efforts, our commitment and contributions over the last few decades, have sadly managed to go unnoticed by the government and the people of the top echelons.
This is the year that was designed to celebrate the Mujib Centenary and accordingly, since the previous year, we have been making all the preparations, investing heavily in various sectors, such as LED displays, speakers, trusses (stage equipment) as well as advance booking for godowns and various other needs.
But the Covid-19 pandemic today has compelled us to a suspension of business posing a terrible risk for the survival of the industry. We now lurch on the verge of extinction as we have been forced to this standstill situation.
Sad but true is the other fact that the development of our sector is relatively new in country. As a result, we cannot even identify our business in the correct manner since we do not fall into any of the existing categories enlisted in the book of our government.
We are generally advised to procure our license as a supplier or as a decorator service which cannot justify the true style and extent of our trade although this sector bears all the possibilities to rise as a promising industry in Bangladesh. In absence of this right recognition, we are not entitled to avail any bank-loan facility, and often find us left out from any government grant or incentive.
To alleviate this drastic situation, we, as a forum, devoutly call for the attention of the relevant ministries, especially, the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Culture including Honourable Prime Minister to recognize us and ask for the government to facilitate issuance of trade license in the distinct category, thus enabling us to operate in a safe and secure business environment.
We call for the attention of our Honourable Prime Minister and the top echelons of the government as well as the concerned ministries to stand by us and support us survive this Covid-19 disaster, and even after.
We have organized impressive events in the past and will continue to do so in the future. But at the moment we, the five lakh workers, have been left out painstakingly unemployed and jobless. Honourable Prime Minister has announced various incentives for the people affected by Covid-19. As such, we also urge the authorities to keep a watchful eye so that we are not deprived of this motivational support as well.