Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday stressed again on reining in inflation in the country through various efforts and government policies alongside preventing unnecessary expenditure and wastage of the public fund.
The premier gave the directive while chairing a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) as its chairperson held at the NEC Conference Room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that the Prime Minister once again put emphasis on reducing further the inflation rate through various government measures and policies.
"But, it's not possible to bring down inflation by force or overnight. We've brought down inflation over the last four months and I think the inflation rate will also decline in the outgoing month," he added.
Mannna said the Prime Minister also underscored the need for averting wastage and unnecessary expenditure of the public fund. "But, necessary expenditure should have to continue, otherwise the economy will not move forward," he said quoting the Prime Minister as saying.
The premier also directed all the concerned executing agencies to complete those projects with high priority which are nearing completion or have witnessed up to 90 percent implementation rate.
Referring to joining of Bangladesh in the New Development Bank (NDB), an initiative of BRICS, Sheikh Hasina said the NDB has opened up a new window for Bangladesh as the country would now be able to take loans from the bank apart from other lenders like World Bank, Asian Development Bank, AIIB and IsDB.
"This is the sign of our enhanced capacity and now we'll be able to take loans from where we'll get better outcomes through negotiations," she added.
The premier asked the authorities concerned not to make concrete the downstream of canals as those often create water logging side by side directed the Ministry of Water Resources and the Local Government Division to construct the sluice gates across the country cautiously considering the sustainable maintenance and operations of those.
Referring to a project in Hatia island, she suggested for building up green belt or afforestation surrounding the island as like in the Sundarbans.
Pointing to the project related to modernization of hospitals, the Prime Minister asked all concerned including the Ministry of Health to ensure infrastructures and necessary manpower and necessary medical equipments in parallel so that those could be operated in full swing from the very beginning. "Scarcity of manpower, machineries and equipments is not at all acceptable and we'll have to be cautious in this regard," Mannan said quoting the premier as saying.
The Prime Minister also suggested for encouraging the youths in surfing in Cox's Bazar as well as searching for fund from the climate fund for reexcavating the Shubhadda Khal.
Answering to a question about the joining of Bangladesh into the BRICS, Mannan said Bangladesh in this regard is already in the 'Verenda’ of a house and waiting to enter the main room with other countries.'
He said Bangladesh has availed one percent share into the NDB of BRICS and hopefully the country would join the BRICS in future through completion of some formalities.
Replying to a question on inflation, Mannan said that the inflation rate in Pakistan is still hovering around 20 percent while Sri Lanka is also experiencing high cost of living although they have reduced the inflation rate.
"Inflation will reduce in August in our country in a sustainable manner," he added.
Regarding the construction of sluice gates in development projects, the Planning Minister said that the Prime Minister had suggested for constructing such structures in a better way and thus maintain those.
State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam said that sluice gates now a day's are being built with fiber optic glasses instead of steel.
When asked about the trend of revision of projects time and again, Mannan said that the Prime Minister is very much aware about the matter.
He said revision of projects usually happens due to fluctuations in the exchange rate coupled with some other issues for which the Ministry of Planning and other implementing Ministries and Divisions are continuously giving their efforts to address the issue.
Replying to another question about the method of reducing unnecessary expenditure, Mannan said that the government should have to increase internal vigilance to reduce such unnecessary expenditure or misuse of fund.
In response to another question, the Planning Minister said that the ADB conducted the feasibility study on the Dohazari-Cox's Bazar Rail Line which experienced some damage due to the recent flood.
At the very outset of the meeting, the ECNEC congratulated the Prime Minister for rolling out the epoch making initiative Universal Pension Scheme on August 17 in line with the election manifesto of the government.
Mannan said this was one of the creative works of the government as the Awami League wants to establish a welfare oriented state.
He noted that all the macroeconomic indices are in a sustainable state and it is the internal characteristics of the country's economy. "It's not good to experience quantum jump or steep fall on anything...the wage rate has increased in the country which indicates the reduced gap between income and expenditure,"
The planning minister said the ECNEC also thanked the Premier for her successful participation at the 15th BRICS summit in South Africa.