Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said that had Awami League not been in power now there would have been fighting on the street for the essential commodities.
“Since the Awami League government is in power it has been possible to control (prices of essentials) to some extent,” she said adding, “If anyone else were in power there would have been fighting on the street.”
She said this while delivering her introductory speech at the National Economic Council (NEC) held to the approve annual development programme (ADP) for 2022-23 fiscal.
The meeting was held at NEC auditorium while the premier joined virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban.
Talking about the recent price hike of essentials, she said that COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war have put pressure on global economy.
She mentioned that there are some countries in Europe where prices of essentials have been hiked from 17 per cent to 50 per cent.
Hasina said scarcity of edible oil is going on in countries like Germany and the UK, where restrictions have been imposed on buying edible oil more than one littre at a time.
The inflation, she said, has hit the US at more than 8 per cent and it will reach to ten per cent.
She mentioned that the whole world is suffering from this.
“The impact of these will be visible also on us. The prices of imported items have been increased. Cost of transportation (vessel rent) has been increased, production decreased where the war is going on.”
She again urged the people to maintain austerity and control in using everything.
“If they do that they might not face any problem,” she observed. She added that “The prices of essentials (at home) have increased due to the international factors and this has to be conveyed to the people.”
She said that her government is trying to increase the production using the country’s fertile land to meet the domestic demands.
“For that purpose I called upon all not to leave a single inch of land without cultivation. We will produce our own food for us and help others. We have to motivate people that way,” she said.
Regarding the ADP for the next fiscal the PM asked the authorities concerned to set the priority for implementation of the immediately-needed projects to avoid unnecessary pressure on the economy.
“We have to remain cautious in spending public money as the world is passing through an economic recession,” she said.
“We have to maintain austerity in every sphere of life, we must not spend our resources unnecessarily,” she said.
She made it clear that the government will implement only those projects which are very much important right now. Those which are not necessary right now will be implemented slowly.
Regarding the criticism against Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant from a section of people, Hasina said that it is being built through a PPP initiative with another country and the loan money will be paid by the next 50 years.
She said it is also environment friendly and the produced power will be very much cheaper.
“They don’t think about the economic outcome and socioeconomic development of this power plant after it goes to the production. There is a section of people who always criticise all good work,” she said.
She also said that this section of people is also talking against the Padma Bridge.
“After opening of this bridge the economy of the southern region of the country will get momentum. They do not consider the socioeconomic uplift of the region,” she said.
She categorically said that the government did not take a single Taka loan from anyone for Padma Multipurpose Bridge.
“It is being built with Bangladesh’s own finance. Their claims are totally false and unacceptable,” she said brushing aside the criticism.
She said that she never thinks about the welfare of the privileged section of the people. “I always think about the underprivileged and deprived section of people and work for them.”
She asked those who are misguiding people with false information to restrain themselves while talking.
“It’s better not to try to confuse the common people,” she said.
She said that the government will take decision for the people of the country and for their welfare.
Recalling her homecoming on May 17, 1981 from exile in India, she said that her party and the government have been able to return people’s power to them.
Hasina, the Awami League chief, said that there had been repeated attempts to kill her. “But I did not fear anything.”
She also regretted that she did not get any support from the media.
“I always get support from the people of the country and party leaders and activists. People’s trust and confidence is my strength.”
She said that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman wanted to make the country a developed and prosperous one.
“We have got the recognition as the developing country. We have to establish that and move further. We can move further defying all odds and hurdles. Then we will be able to make the country developed one,” she said.