Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday asked the authorities concerned to expedite the formulation and implementation of various projects under the Government to Government initiatives.
The prime minister gave the directive while chairing a meeting of the executive committee of the National Economic Council at the NEC conference room at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that the prime minister put emphasis on expediting the process of formulating and implementing G2G projects with different countries like India and China as Bangladesh has agreements with those countries under their Lines of Credit.
Sheikh Hasina said there should not be any delay or negligence in this regard as these initiatives would enhance the foreign currency flow to Bangladesh, said Mannan.
He said that the prime minister also asked the Planning Commission to prioritise foreign-funded projects considering the current situation.
He said the day’s ECNEC meeting approved a total of 18 projects involving an overall estimated cost of Tk 11,387.91 crore. “Of the total project cost, Tk 7,445.34 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh portion, Tk 80.78 crore from the concerned organisations’ own fund while the rest of Tk 3,861.79 crore as project assistance,” Mannan said.
Of the 18 approved projects, nine are new while nine are revised projects. Besides, the meeting approved the timeframe extension of a project without raising its cost.
The minister said that the prime minister iterated her call to all concerned to maintain austerity in all spheres and boost domestic production side by side not keeping idle an inch of land.
Turning to the issue of containing inflation, Sheikh Hasina underscored the need for conducting research as there are differences in the price of commodities in various markets and kitchen markets.
The prime minister also put emphasis on setting up regional storage arrangements for perishable items like onion and ginger. He said the prime minister has acknowledged the current rising inflationary trend and the shortage of power and energy in the country resulting in load shedding.
He said that the utmost priority of the government is now containing inflation and bringing the power and energy situation to a tolerable level.
Referring to his earlier prediction that inflation would come down, Mannan said, but unfortunately, it did not come down, rather increased, for which the government would do whatever necessary such as using its available instruments to contain it.
The minister said the very first strategy of the government to contain inflation would be not to let it increase further and then try to roll it back.
Answering a question, he said that it is not right that inflation is increasing in the country only because of the high exchange rate of US dollars, but there are some other reasons also.
He said that efforts are going on to conduct trade with other currencies other than US dollars, adding, “The foreign currency is now hovering over $30 billion, but it might again go up to $50 billion,” he said.