Excessive fuel price hike causing terrible hardship yet govt admits no regret11 August 2022 Editorial Desk
Since the government hiked the fuel price by record margins, it was telling the people that for adjusting the price with the international market it was forced to hike the price. Also rather in a surrealistic manner, the price hike was also blamed for smuggling the fuel out of the country through the border as its price in India is much less.
If the people, who are running the government, have an iota of integrity and responsibility, they would not have mentioned that it was for stopping smuggling it increased fuel price that has now taken the whole of Bangladesh in an unprecedented economic turmoil. The government at this moment of crisis is so confused that it does not even know when and how they are making self-defeating statements. Is the BGB there on the border posts only to consume public money with no responsibility of stopping smuggling?
Mentioning names of many developed countries, some in the government also defended the hike by telling the people that fuel price is much higher in many countries of the world, quite ignoring the fact that people's purchasing power is far greater in these countries than in our country.
The fact is the government is not telling the truth regarding the fuel price hike.
The IMF in its website says about its loan conditionality:
"When a country borrows from the IMF, its government agrees to adjust its economic policies to overcome the problems that led it to seek financial aid. These policy adjustments are conditions for IMF loans and serve to ensure that the country will be able to repay the IMF. This system of conditionality is designed to promote national ownership of strong and effective policies."
Any conscious citizen knows that massive corruption, plundering of money, capital flight to distant shores as well as luxurious and mindless spending by the government in the last decade have brought Bangladesh's economy to its knees. It is obvious that to become "able to repay the IMF", the government has increased fuel prices at the bidding of the IMF.
The government is hiding this from the public. For mismanagement and corruption, it is now the common people who are earning less are bearing the loan burden. We agree with the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) when it says that by preventing tax evasion and money laundering through adoption of "Common Reporting Standard" --- which helps banks and the financial sector to automatically exchange information on transactions --- as well as stopping corruption, the government can very positively collect the money for loan payment. The government is not ready to tread this path because its own people are involved in this illegal act of sucking people's money.
This also exposes the motive of a class of experts that are suggesting, after the fuel price hike, that the government could have increased price gradually step by step totally forgetting that here an illegal government is running the affairs of the state and it is totally unethical to impose any amount of burden of debt on the people. But these experts never suggest, for reasons not unknown, that to save the country from the economic collapse lies in removing this inept and corrupt government.