Govt wants IMF loan, but not with hard conditions: Quader

Publish: 1:52 PM, November 9, 2022 | Update: 1:52 PM, November 9, 2022
Road Transportation and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader briefs the reporters at the Secretariat on Wednesday. Photo: collected.

General Secretary of Awami League and Road Transportation and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said even if the government wants a loan from International Monetary Fund (IMF), it will not accept any challenging or complex conditions of the organisation.

He said this in a press conference at the Secretariat on Wednesday.

Obaidul Quader said, “We are facing a tough time as the global crisis is putting pressure on our day-to-day life, especially the economic crisis, dollar crisis and the deficiency of reserves are affecting our nation.”

Stating the spiral of daily commodity prices he said, “In countries like Uk, the living cost has risen by 80 percent. They are facing 10.1 percent inflation right now. We had inflation there at 9.1 percent which has decreased to 8.9 percent now. The rate of increase in commodity prices has slowed down a bit too. Hopefully, I will gradually become normal.”

“The pressure on our reserves is increasing day by day. We need money at the moment. So IMF loan is a need. But we will not accept any difficult conditions. It is not easy to accept very hard preconditions for money. Talks are going on. We will do what is logical. We have no choice left but to take the loan. We will take it, but not with conditions beyond our ability.” Quader stated.

The minister, however, didn’t explain what he meant by ‘hard conditions’. On the question about the ‘hard conditions’ of the IMF, Quader suggested reporters to ‘apply common sense’.

He said, “You should understand what the condition is. We all know very well about the past of the IMF, and what conditions they can put on the table. We will not accept any conditions that may cause more damage to the country.”

“We are not in that much of a crisis like many other countries. We are in a better position than many. By ‘better’ I mean – comfortable. Sufferings are inevitable if the cost of living increases. We are not denying that common people are in a worse condition, we are realising it and trying to get rid of it as much as possible. We are not saying that the crisis will go away, but we are constantly trying to ease the life of common folks.”

Be noted, Bangladesh has asked for a loan of $4.5 billion from the IMF to deal with the current economic crisis. According to the current exchange rate, it is more than 4 lakh 70 thousand crores in Bangladeshi taka.

The Government sent an official letter to the head office of the IMF in Washington at the end of July this year. As part of that, a 10-member delegation headed by IMF South Asia Pacific Region Chief Rahul Anand came to Dhaka on October 26 to formally discuss the issue.

Officials of the Ministry of Finance said the loan money will be spent on to balance foreign exchange, support the budget and climate impact.

The government’s ongoing talks with the IMF delegation are nearing its end. Their visit is ending with a formal meeting with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Wednesday.

The visiting IMF mission is expected to give a report on Wednesday after 15 consecutive days of negotiations with various government departments and organisations on the terms of the loan. The IMF officials held a long meeting with Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday afternoon before the visit.

The IMF delegation is scheduled to attend the last meeting with the finance minister in his office at the secretariat on Wednesday afternoon. Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rauf Talukder, Finance Ministry Senior Secretary Fatima Yasmin, Economic Relations Department Secretary Sharifa Khan and policy-making officials of the Finance Department will be present in the meeting.