Several global agencies and international outlets have ruled out a Srilanka type collapse for Bangladesh, testifying to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s decisive leadership and pouring cold water on such doom and gloom projections clearly driven by opposition agenda.
From predicting millions of death during the Covid outbreak to holding responsible Sheikh Hasina’s macro economic policies for a possible collapse with Bangaldesh, some detractors were predicting a repeat of Sri Lanka here.
Some odd commentators like Avinash Paliwal , who never even paid a visit to Bangladesh , have ardently projected a bleak future for Bangladesh but a recent Nikkei Asian Review report called Bangladesh as a stand out star among its neighbouring peers.
Brushing off the doom and gloom as narrated in the article by a so called Afaganistan expert, the Nikkei article, that compared dynamics of South Asian economies, lauded Sheikh Hasina’s deft handling with a set of prudent economic management policies during the pandemic .
It mentioned her early lifting of the lockdown had helped the country generate tax revenue and save forex funds and manage financial deficit better.
Even a recent International Monetary Fund report that pressed alarm bells on impending debt crisis for as many as fifty countries across the globe clearly excluded Bangladesh from the list . This when export earnings crossed a whopping $50 billion for the first time recently.
Ironically, Paliwal, ignorant about ground realities on this land, deliberately choose to avoid such success stories and, advocated for an imminent doom in 2024, that clearly strikes an eerie similarities with narratives peddled by the opposition that even threatened Sheikh Hasina’s government with violent overthrow instead of participating in the election.
Paliwal’s worries of repayment difficulties over foreign debt were clearly misplaced.
Explaining the debt conundrum being talked about in the wake of Lanka fiasco, Bangladesh economist had said: “Some 77 per cent of our external loan is soft loan, which is not costly, while Sri Lanka took costly commercial loans. So, don’t compare us with Sri Lanka, ruling out any debt woes in the near future either.
The finance minister furnished debt-repayment statistics over the coming years, and said the country needs to repay US$ 2.4 billion this year, US$ 2.8 billion, US$3.3 billion, and US$4.0 billion in the subsequent years.
“I just got the information that we received remittance worth US$ 2.0 billion this month (for April). So, we can repay the debt with two months’ remittance money,” he added.
Giving recent statistics of the FAO and the World Bank over substantial rise in prices of food globally, he said Bangladesh as a market-based economy also faced its fallout.
In reality , international outlets like Diplomat, Washington post, Bloomberg and regional outlets credited Sheikh Hasina for instilling an infectious can do spirit among her people that led the youngest nation in South Asia to lead the region on a host of human development indices.
In Bangladesh’s choppy waters it is the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) , with its all weather ally Jamaat, which is in disarray .
Its acting chief Tarique Rahman is leading a fugitive life in London convicted in a litany of case including plotting to kill Hasina, and his mother Begum Zia, who also gobbled up money meant for orphans, stands convicted, saying otherwise for AL can only makes mockery of a judgement, says an eminent journalist.
Bereft of its legitimacy crisis following a Canadian court verdict that earned a terror tag for the party in 2017 coupled with outright public rejection as the party unleashed a spate of firebombing after it boycotted the election back in 2013, BNP hired some rubble rousers, from its activists who had already been dismissed from their jobs, to unleash a series of smears against the government through social media and offshore portals, with the hope of whipping up public unrest and anarchy on the society.
Employing smears and stratagems, veiled threats of assassination to Sheikh Hasina, unleashing attacks on minorities and boycotting elections only show the pack of cards that BNP with its corrupt leaders built stands on the verge of collapse and the bankruptcy of its leadership shows sands from its ground has shifted long back.