Dhaka 3rd November 2008. Today, in a press conference held in Dhaka Reporters Unity, Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (equitybd) urged political leaders to scrap PRSP process as this document has been prepared with the instruction of IMF. They urged political leaders to regain country’s sovereignty in economic decision which to be outlined in their forthcoming election manifesto; each of the political parties should describe their plan for poverty reduction, employment creation etc. in their election manifesto, the speaker argued. The press conference was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowhdury, Convener of the group, Sayed Aminul Haque while made the presentation. Besides, Md. Shamsuddoha, Mostafa Kamal Akanda and Sahadat Islam Chowdhury of EquityBd also participated in the press conference.
Speakers said that the 2nd PRSP, which has just approved in the advisor’s council, contains the issues of IMF and WB prescriptions of whole sale privatization and liberalization. All above IMF and WB carefully implanted the issues of macro economic in such a way that the country will be more indebted to the foreign loan, e.g. it has been outlined in the document that government loan borrowing could be up to 60 % of GDP, and debt stock could be 40 % of GDP during the PRSP period. Speakers mentioned that country is already paying annually 17 % of revenue budget as debt servicing which has surpassed the important sectoral allocation like health. Therefore as per proposed volume of loan borrowing would increase country’s debt servicing up to 25 to 30 % of revenue budget, which might force the government to reduce budget allocation to the public service sectors.
Sayed Aminul, in his position paper, mentioned that 2nd PRSP adopted the policies of commercialization of agriculture, irrigation, involvement of private sector in agricultural input business, and introduction of tax system in agriculture; Sayed Aminul mentioned that it is detrimental to the effort to gain self sufficiency in food and also to protect the basic survival of the small farmers. He also mentioned that, while the whole world is trying to regulate market and more nationalization after learning from present economic crisis, second PRSP outlined the policies of more import tariff reduction, reduction of sensitive list etc. which in fact will foreclose the growth of domestic industries and reduce scope of employment. Speakers were also criticized denationalization plan of Padma and Zamuna Oil Company and 26 SOE (state owned enterprise) as planned in the second PRSP.
Speakers urged political leaders to state clear cut poverty reduction policies in their election manifesto and also urged to protect the country’s sovereignty on own economic decision. They also urged political leaders to support UN initiatives of reforming global economic architecture with the participation of all countries of the world, while there are a initiatives from US president Bush to have such a reform only having meeting with G20 ally.