Government Policy

Comparing Bangladesh with Sri Lanka is unfortunate: Principal Secretary

Taking a swipe at those who campaign that Bangladesh would face the crisis like Sri Lanka, Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus on Tuesday said the comparison is very unfortunate.

“There is nothing more unfortunate than comparing Bangladesh with Sri Lanka today. Bangladesh is far better than Sri Lanka. Nothing can be more shameful than comparing Bangladesh with Sri Lanka,” he said.

The principal secretary made this remark at a press briefing on the current economic situation of Bangladesh at the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday afternoon.

Raising different data and statistics over the situation of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, he said the Awami League government, especially Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken every step judiciously following thorough assessment.

Kaikaus said the prime minister on Tuesday spent three hours reviewing the situation of Bangladesh compared with Sri Lanka. “She (PM) analyzed every data,” he said.

The premier witnessed a presentation over offshore tax amnesty and macroeconomic review of Bangladesh in the backdrop of the Sri Lankan economic crisis.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the Finance Division made the presentation at a meeting in Ganobhaban here.

In the meeting, the PM was informed that Bangladesh has no possibility to be like Sri Lanka and she also agreed, seeing every data, said the principal secretary.

“The prime minister herself became sure that it is right, analyzing every data. She didn’t say yes before that,” he said.

Agreeing with Kaikaus, Finance Senior Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder said those who compare Bangladesh with Sri Lanka demean Bangladesh. There is no reason for this comparison, he added.

Placing various data and statistics on the situations of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the finance secretary said, “Our foreign debt is only 12 per cent of GDP, which is about 48 per cent in Sri Lanka.”

The average interest rate against the foreign loans taken by Sri Lanka is 7.5 per cent, while that is 1.4 per cent in case of Bangladesh, he said.

Rouf said when a country can’t repay their loans, it becomes bankrupt. “But there is no possibility that we would fail in repayment of any sort of loan instalments even in the next 5-10 years,” he added.

Depicting the current economic progress of Bangladesh, the finance secretary said the country has attained 6.94 per cent GDP growth in the last financial year. “We expect that the GDP growth would be above 7.2 per cent in the next financial year,” he said.

NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem, ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin and Financial Institutions Secretary Sheikh Mohammad Salim Ullah were also present at the briefing.