Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war may have a negative impact on country’s balance of payments.
She was replying to a tabled question from Jatiya Party MP Mashiur Rahman Ranga during PM’s question-answer session.
She also cited the weak growth of world economy, disruption of the supply chain, increase of cost of fuel oil, gas, food products, consumer goods, industrial raw materials and international freight cost in the global market, decline in exports, negative growth of remittances as among the factors behind a possible negative impact on Bangladesh’s balance of payment.
Hasina, also the leader of the House, said her government has demonstrated remarkable success in keeping both the budget deficit and debt levels at sustainable and bearable levels for the past 14 years.
She said that it has been possible to keep the budget deficit within five per cent of GDP despite various domestic and international economic problems including the Corona pandemic situation.
The debt and GDP ratio is also at the comfortable level, she added.
She also said that at the end of 2021-22 fiscal year, debt and GDP ratio was 34 per cent, which is well below of the internationally recognised debt status threshold for Bangladesh.
She also highlighted various steps of the government to deal the situation.
Replying to another question of Jatiya Party MP from Dhaka Syed Abu Hossain, the PM said that there is no electricity crisis in the country considering the fact that the country has the production capacity in line with the demand.
She, however, said efforts are on to get rid of the problem – caused by ongoing global fuel oil crisis - through maintaining austerity in using electricity and planned load-shedding to save fuel oil.
She mentioned that despite having the capacity of electricity production, in some cases the government has imposed load shedding between 1000-2000MW for saving the fuel oil.
“The government has taken various measurers to keep the load shedding to a limited scale to tackle the ongoing global crisis,” she said.
She, however, hoped that the current power cuts would end sooner than later.
The situation, she said, is expected to improve when the electricity generated from the new coal-based power stations is transmitted to the national grid and if the austerity could be ensured in electricity usage.
Replying to ruling party MP M Shahidul Islam (Bakul) from Natore, the prime minister said that currently the country has a total of 7.01 metric tonnes of refined and crude oil which can meet the demands of 30-35 days.
“By this time two vessels with carrying fuel oil will reach the country keeping fuel oil supply uninterrupted,” she said.
She said that import schedule of fuel oil considering the country’s need for the next six months (July-December) has been ensured with the supplying company.
In response to a question from Habibur Rahman, a member of Bogra-5 Constituency, the PM said that a total of 6,836 Bangladeshi peacekeepers are currently engaged in 8 peacekeeping missions under the United Nations, of which 521 are women.
A total of 161 Bangladeshi peacekeepers have been killed and 258 injured so far while discharging their duties in the mission, she said.