Commentary

The plunderers have created the debt trap

16 September 2021
The plunderers have created the debt trap


Editorial Desk :
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Wednesday told the Jatiya Sangsad that Bangladesh's foreign debt now stands at US$ 49,458 million. It means, each and every citizen - from elderly to newborn - is shouldering Tk 24,890 debt. As per the Bureau of Statistics, the population of Bangladesh is around 16,93 crore. So the per capita foreign debt is now US$ 292.11 dollars; and in local currency the amount is Tk 24,890, (one dollar equivalent to Tk 85.21). The minister also said the country has loan agreements to the tune of US$ 95,908.34 million with various development partner countries and institutions as of June 30.
On the other hand, the per capita income in Bangladesh is now $2,227, which is equivalent to Tk 1,88,873, said Planning Minister MA Mannan in May last. The government may want to say - if one earns Tk 1,88,873 yearly why one won't bear the burden of Tk 24,890 foreign debt! In fact, the statistical jargon regarding development may be a good ingredient to make political speeches in parliament or television. We also know that the per
capita income shown by the finance ministry is a fattened data just to glorify government's successes. The income disparity among the people is so much that anyone would be stunned. It cannot be a formula to get an average income where the income difference between a rickshaw-puller or day labourer and a tax-dodger businessman is sky-high.
Similarly, the amount of per head liability has been shown flattened. So far as we know, the total amount of bad loans with different banks is over one lakh crore taka. Again, trillions of taka has been siphoned away by a section of business people. In this context, the total amount of per head debt must be much higher than the figure given by the government. We want to know how the government will pay the debts taken from different countries and institutions in the name of development projects, when most of the big projects are marred by corruption. Almost all the mega development projects couldn't be completed in time resulting in higher expenditures. More time means more expenditure and more expenditure means more corruption.
If there is no proper guideline to repay the debt then the amount of debt would increase in the course of time. Many countries in the world have had bitter experiences of not repaying loans in due time. Sri Lanka is the best example. After plundering the country is now falling into the debt trap.

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