All Foreign Loan and Power Deal have to be Transparent and Placed in Parliament

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Dhaka, 2nd September 2010. Today twelve civil society organizations (CSO) s in a press conference title “Demand from a democratically elected government: Ensure participation and transparency in five year planning, all foreign loan and in all power deal process”, has criticized government for embarking on five year planning process without initiating any participatory process. They also criticize government for recent foreign loan agreement and power deal which has done in hasty manner and in non transparent process. The twelve organizations consists BNNRC, CDP, DORP, IED, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Solidarity Workshop, Online Knowledge Center, Lead Trust, Prodip, Arpon, Nagorik Uddogue and EquityBD. The press conference was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, written statement has been read out by Sayed Aminul Haque, while Mostafa Kamal Akanda, Badrul Alam, M M Mahbub Hasan, Feroze Ahmed and Iqbal Hossain spoken on the occasion.

In their written the CSOs has placed following five demands (i) government must declare a participatory road map for five year plan preparation, as the present policy makers were critical of PRSP process along with CSOs and they have had committed to do so, (ii) government must not outsource the planning process to private consulting firm where ex employee of World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) are working, they term it is in fact conflict of interest, (iii) government must avoid donor darling consultants to recruit in all government committees especially in international negotiation team, as there are several occasions that those consultants in fact misguided government in respect of sovereign people interest; (iv) government must avoid all supplier credit, it should form a review commission on impact of all past supplier credit and foreign loan, as there are a lot of question on all those supplier credit and foreign loan utilization; (v) government should cancel all WB and ADB loan in agriculture and education ministry, e.g., existing NATEP project in agriculture ministry has 50 % consultant cost, and they express worries that the WB and recent ADB projects might push the ministry for blanket commercialization in agriculture input services. They name a project with University Grant Commission which has the plan for full cost recovery in all public universities by the year 2026; they also mentioned that the recent fee hike and student unrest in Chittagong University is the reasons behind it. Finally (vi) they urged full transparency in all power and foreign loan deal and also demand placing of those in parliament. They apprehended that increased and unplanned subsidy and borrowing may create unbearable public debt burden and might be resulting reduction in government social spending in future, like what happening now in Philippines and Indonesia.

Finally the speakers mentioned that above demand in respect of transparency and participation is a natural demand from this government, as it is an elected government, and the party in power always mentioned the values of democracy and socialism in their election manifesto.

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