Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said she is confident Bangladesh can meet its commitments to the International Monetary Fund under the $4.7 billion loan programme.
"The IMF only assists countries that can repay the loans they are taking. We took the loan as much as we need, and I am very much sure that definitely we are able to use the loan for our progress and side by side we are able to pay it back," Hasina said on the second day of the third Qatar Economic Forum in Doha.
In January, the IMF approved loans of $4.7 billion to Bangladesh for immediate disbursement, considered a boost for Hasina ahead of a general election early next year.
Amid a worsening economic crisis, Bangladesh has seen a sharp widening of its current account deficit, depreciation of the taka currency and a decline in its foreign exchange reserves.
Asked why Bangladesh, instead of lowering energy prices as many experts suggested, decided to raise the cost multiple times this year, Hasina said: “Energy prices have gone up around the globe and we’re struggling with it as well.”
“But for our people, and the development, we always provide facilities so they don’t suffer,” she said, adding that the whole country is now connected to power.
Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh was scoping out alternatives in ‘renewable energy’ to resolve the power crisis.
On whether Bangladesh might consider buying oil from Russia, Hasina said: “We have never bought oil from Russia, but [will consider] whoever offers a comfortable price.”
“Our foreign policy is very clear -- friendship to all, malice to none. Another thing I’d like to mention is that countries might have conflict among themselves, but we will never play a partisan role in the world.”
“We need to develop our country and fulfil our people’s demands.”
Speaking about making the upcoming general elections ‘fairer and more participatory’, Hasina said, “It is our struggle to ensure free and fair elections, and we did it during our time.”
“I’m not here to grab power but to ensure people’s voting rights and the people should decide who will run the country. Definitely, the election will be free and fair.”
She also welcomed foreign observers to closely watch the general election due in early 2024.
[With details from Reuters]