Sri Lanka-like crisis
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday made it clear that Bangladesh will never face an economic crisis like Sri Lanka as her government has been developing the country in a planned way. “There is no use of making false accusations against us. Bangladesh will never become Sri Lanka and it can’t be,” she said. The premier was addressing a commemorative meeting organised jointly by Awami League’s Dhaka north and south city units at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here to mark the National Mourning Day of August 15, the day the country’s founding leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated along with most members of his family in 1975. Hasina, who is also the president of governing Awami League, said her government has been placing the budget in planned ways for the continuation of the country’s economic development. She said every development project is taken considering its economic return in the country. “Before taking every development plan, we think how it will help benefit the country and its people once it is completed. We don’t at all think about getting a large amount of money as commission from a big project,” she said. “Sheikh Hasina doesn’t take any project thinking in this way (to get money as commission),” she added. The PM said Bangladesh has been repaying the foreign debts in time. “We don’t eat ghee (clarified butter) by borrowing money. The amount of our debts is not so high that we would fall in (the debt) trap of anyone,” she said. She, however, said Bangladesh had to face a Sri Lanka-like situation during the 2001-2006 regime of BNP, but her government has pulled the country out from that state. Citing misrule of BNP regime, the AL chief said when BNP was in power, Bangladesh became the champion in corruption five times, and prices of essential commodities were soaring, there was scarcity of electricity, water and employment, the country witnessed militancy, violence and grenade attacks. Enough kindness shown to Khaleda: PM Noting that BNP is now staging a drama over sending Khaleda Zia abroad for treatment, the PM said the BNP leader, convicted of corruption, has been shown enough kindness. “She (Khaleda) has been shown much kindness. It is not possible to show more compassion towards her,” she said, adding that Khaleda has been allowed to stay in her house by exercising PM’s executive authority considering her age, sickness and sufferings in the jail. Khaleda, the PM said, goes to hospital wearing makeup and well dressed, and on the other hand, her doctor reports that her condition is very bad and her liver has been seriously damaged. Everyone knows what (drink/food) causes the liver to rot quickly, she added. She once again alleged that Khaleda patronised the killers of her (PM’s) parents, backed attempts to kill her and insulted her during the death of Koko (the younger son of Khaleda). Read: PM Hasina urges Myanmar to ensure dignified return of Rohingyas to their homeland
The United States does not see any Sri Lanka-like situation in Bangladesh, noting that Bangladesh is a country which has done “extremely well” in terms of debt management with careful borrowing and strong foreign currency reserve. “Basically Bangladesh is not Sri Lanka,” said US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas, mentioning fundamentally there are different sets of challenges. He also mentioned that Bangladesh has taken a small amount of loan from China. The ambassador, however, said it does not mean that Bangladesh economy does not face challenges - with inflation and growing food prices. He was responding to questions at “DCAB Talk” organized by Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) at Jatiya Press Club. Read: US stands by Bangladesh as a steadfast dev partner: Ambassador Haas “Just think for a moment about how far Bangladesh has come since its war for independence--from a newborn country devastated by conflict to a thriving country with one of the world’s fastest growing economies,” Haas said. National Elections Responding to a question, the envoy said he has been speaking about the importance of having free, fair and transparent elections here in Bangladesh where the people have the right and the ability to freely elect their leaders. He, however, said it is up to Bangladesh to decide how it is going to create those conditions required for a free election. The envoy said freedom of press, no violence and the role of Election Commission are some of the important factors to ensure a fair election. This is the job of the Bangladesh government, Bangladeshi people, media and (Bangladesh's) civil society to ensure free and fair election, he added. IPEF & Bangladesh Responding to a question, Haas said there will be opportunities for other countries to join in the recently launched Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). There have been consultations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March regarding the IPEF and the ambassador hoped that Bangladesh will follow it closely. Read: PM offers Fateha at the mazar of Bangabandhu in Tungipara President Biden launched the IPEF with a dozen initial partners: Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Together, they represent 40% of world GDP. Regarding sanctions imposed on the elite force Rab, the US envoy said President Biden has made it clear that human rights and protection of human rights are central to the US foreign policy. And the sanctions imposed against the Rab and some of the officials were result of that, he said. Haas said the US wants accountability for the Rab and avoid potential human rights abuses and efforts to make sure that those abuses do not happen again in the future. It is not really the question of providing the list of things that must be accomplished "So, it's not really a question of providing a list of things that must be accomplished. It's not about specifics but the underlying principles: commitment to human rights and commitment to accountability in the cases of human rights violations,” he said. DCAB President Rezaul Karim Lotus moderated the programme while its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin delivered welcome remarks.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of a Sri Lanka-like crisis in Bangladesh, saying that the country’s economy is very strong. “The base of Bangladesh's economy is very strong. We’re very careful about it,” she said in her valedictory speech in the 17th session of 11th Parliament. Also read: JS thanks PM for making 'Joy Bangla' the national slogan The prime minister said this, referring to the remarks of Deputy Opposition Leader Ghulam Muhammed Quader who suggested that Bangladesh needs to be cautious after the Sri Lankan economic crisis. Hasina, also the Leader of the House, said Bangladesh still remains as the 31st largest economy in the world. She dismissed the fear of Bangladesh falling in any debt trap, saying that the country has always been repaying loans in time after Awami League formed the government. “Bangladesh is a country which has never become a defaulter in loan repayment and will not become so in future as well,” she said. Talking about the essentials’ price-hike, the Prime Minister said the inflation rate has gone above 7.50 per cent in the entire Europe due to the fallout of Covid-19 pandemic and Ukraine war. “But the inflation is still less than 6 per cent in Bangladesh,” she said. She said the prices of essentials increased with the rise of per capita income in the country. The price of every commodity rose in the world due to the Covid-19. “The prices of essentials have gone up in all the countries, not only in our country,” said Hasina, mentioning that ship fare also enhanced along with the price-hike in the international market due to the blow of both Covid and war. Citing Wednesday's prices of different essentials in the local market, the PM said the government is taking measures to control the prices of goods. Also read:Padma Bridge to open to traffic end this year, PM informs Parliament Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Bangladesh Awami League, defended the Article-70 of the Constitution, which doesn’t allow an MP to vote against his or her party in Parliament. “There is a stability in politics as the Article-70 is there,” she said. As per the Article 70, if an MP resigns from his or her party or votes against that party, the person would lose the membership of Parliament.