May 18, 2022
DHAKA – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the people to practise austerity and be careful about spending in the face of a global economic slowdown.
She made the call while speaking at the meeting of the National Economic Council yesterday afternoon, said Planning Minister MA Mannan at a press briefing after the meeting.
The PM joined the meeting virtually from the Gono Bhaban.
The minister said austerity should be practised normally without being afraid of it.
“The prime minister earlier gave some directives to the government officials on practising austerity. Today, [yesterday] she called upon the private sector and the people to be economical,” he added.
The government has already decided to stop overseas trips of government officials, employees of autonomous, state-owned and semi-government organisations as well as public banks and financial institutions in the wake of the current global crisis.
The PM asked the authorities concerned to ensure proper implementation of government directives, the planning minister said, adding that she urged all to be careful about misuse of resources.
“The country’s economy is absolutely righton track. We are achieving our economic growth,” Mannan said.
He said the government currently has over 1,500 projects. The PM in the meeting directed the ministries concerned to give priority to those projects which are necessary.
The meeting discussed the Padma bridge rail link project.
Asked whether the highest allocation proposal for the transport sector in the new annual development plan (ADP) is a populist move ahead of the next general election, the planning minister said being a pro-people government, they must satisfy the people.
The next parliamentary election is scheduled to be held late next year.
Hasina in the meeting said,”I would urge the people to be a little more economical and careful. Then there should be no problem.”
She said commodity prices have increased due to the global situation and this needs to be communicated to the people.
“Here, many will criticise it. As the Awami League is in power, it is being able to control the [rise in price] situation to some extent. How would thesituation have been if anyone else was in power? Fighting would have started on streets, but that did not happen.”
Hasina said people need to be careful as there is a global economic downtrend and a famine seems to be appearing globally. “We have to be very careful about spending money. We should not spend our resources unnecessarily.”
Mentioning that the Covid-19 pandemic and Ukraine-Russia war are having a huge impact on the country’s economy, she said the problem is not just in Bangladesh, but in all developed and underdeveloped countries of the world.
There are countries in Europe where commodity prices have gone up by 17 to 50 percent. Even Germany is facing shortage of edible oil, the PM said, adding that England has set a limit on the sale of cooking oil so no one can buy more than one litre.
Inflation in United States has risen above 6 percent and it is about to reach 10 percent, Hasina said, mentioning that the price of diesel has crossed the $4 a gallon mark from $1 and such a situation prevails across the world.
“Despite all these, we have been able to keep our economy moving. But there will be an impact as we need to import goods and the prices have risen,” she said.