'No one's starving' in Bangladesh: minister plays down impact of soaring inflation

The minister hopes essentials would be easily available during the month of Ramadan

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 27 Feb 2024, 10:24 AM
Updated : 27 Feb 2024, 10:24 AM

Senior cabinet minister Obaidul Quader has lauded the resilience of Bangladeshis and said the public has been largely unscathed by soaring commodity prices.

“The market is usually volatile during an economic crisis. That's the norm. But we must be patient since no one is starving or dying out of hunger. People are doing well,” Quader said at a press briefing on Tuesday.

The road transport and bridges minister also allayed fears of potential unrest fuelled by the skyrocketing prices of essentials.

"The opposition could not get public support for their protests despite repeated instigations. People are well aware of the global situation and are not being provoked," Quader, the Awami League general secretary, said.

”They understand that the government isn’t responsible [for the price hike]."

Quader noted that many countries across the globe are grappling with rampant inflation.

“Show me one country where the prices of essentials are stable. But our people still have the purchasing power and we hope that goods will be available during Ramadan.”

The prime minister has also directed the authorities to crack down on irregularities in the market to bring the escalating prices of beef under control, he added.

Quader was also asked about a high-level US delegation's recent visit to Bangladesh amid criticism from Washington about the electoral process in the country.

The minister said the government does not need to speculate on what the delegation would report back to the US.

“We nurture friendship with our foreign friends but we won't be docile with those wanting to enslave us. This is our foreign policy.”

The US delegation visited Bangladesh from Saturday to Monday, engaging in discussions with the government to enhance diplomatic relations.

Quader also refused to read too much into the fact that US delegation met the BNP but not the Awami League.

He said the ruling Awami League does not view it as a 'crisis', as the aim of the visiting delegation was to primarily bolster relations with the government.

Quader was similarly unfazed by the issue of repaying foreign loans, which have doubled since last year.

“Due to the global situation, the financial crisis has become a major issue worldwide. Although the amount of debt might be higher than in previous years,” the minister said.

“Bangladesh has a clean record of not defaulting on loans. We’ve made arrangements and will not shirk our repayment responsibilities.”