Govt won’t buy anything from countries that impose sanctions on Bangladesh: Hasina

Hasina criticises the US for imposing sanctions on the RAB

Published : 15 May 2023, 04:36 PM
Updated : 15 May 2023, 04:36 PM

Sheikh Hasina has ordered officials not to buy products from countries that have clamped sanctions on Bangladesh. 

Hasina hinted at changing the policy on Saturday and confirmed it at a press briefing over her recent trip to Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom on Monday. She said she had asked for the inclusion of a new clause in the government procurement policy to ban the purchase of products from these countries. 

The prime minister said she would speak to the finance ministry and had given instructions to the planning ministry about the matter. 

“It’s very clear. What’s the problem in it? What’s there to be afraid of? We’re not [overly] dependent on anyone anymore.” 

In December 2021, the United States government imposed a ban on the Rapid Action Battalion and seven present and former RAB officials, citing serious human rights violations. 

Bangladesh asked the US to lift the sanctions multiple times but the country did not respond and said the process to withdraw such prohibitions was “very complex”. 

On Jan 15, Donald Lu, the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said that he hoped the ban would be lifted soon. 

But the following day, Jeff Ridenour, the spokesperson for the US Embassy, praised the Bangladesh government for the reduction in allegations of extrajudicial killings and said Lu did not indicate a time frame for lifting sanctions on RAB. 

Hasina said the government took two steps on procurement before making the decision to include the new clause in the policy, but declined to reveal what those steps were. 

Criticising the US sanctions on the RAB, she said: “Why did they impose the ban? We rooted out terrorism through them [RAB].” 

She hailed the law-enforcing agencies for preventing terrorism in Bangladesh after the 2016 Holey Artisan bakery attack.