Bangladesh will go bankrupt: this was what the country’s opposition alliance predicted soon after the country sought financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In a similar vein to how David Bergman’s offshore outlet, Netra News, peddled news of doom and gloom after coronavirus was found in the youngest nation of South Asia, the opposition had predicted bankruptcy after the Bangladesh government sought an IMF loan. While Netra News claimed “millions will die of Covid,” “a complete breakdown in health system”, “vaccines would never arrive” when the pandemic first broke out in the country, the opposition leaders had said that Bangladesh would never be able to get IMF loans.
But, contrary to what the proponents of the disinformation campaign claimed, the Sheikh Hasina-led government emerged as a top performer in the Covid-19 management with the accomplishment of the WHO target. And now, the International Monetary Fund has cleared a $4.5 billion loan for Bangladesh.
‘TAKING ROLE OF SOOTHSAYER DEPLORABLE’
Talking about the opposition parties’ disinformation campaign, an eminent Bangladeshi journalist spoke about how, even if parties have political differences, they should not take on the role of soothsayer.
“One may have certain differences with a government, any government, but when one takes on oneself the role of soothsayer, it is a deplorable situation. Bangladesh’s political opposition and its supporters have only undermined themselves through comments which turned out to be meaningless,” said Syed Badrul Ahsan, an eminent journalist and researcher.
“The naysayers and the doomsday prophets should have been careful with their projections. A responsible opposition must see beyond the ambition to gain power. It does itself little credit when it looks away from the good done by the government of the day,” Syed Badrul Ahsan added.
Notably, when the World Bank had pulled out from Padma Bridge funding over graft allegations, a charge that was later junked by a Canadian court, the Sheikh Hasina government had decided to build the bridge with the country’s own resources. Even then, the opposition parties had attacked the government over unsubstantiated corruption charges and said that the move to build the bridge with self-funding was a “pipe dream”.
PM Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Padma Bridge in June last year.
WHEN THE OPPOSITION CLAIMED SHEIKH HASINA GOVT WILL HAVE TO RETURN EMPTY-HANDED
Reza Kibria, convenor of Bangladesh Gono Odhikar Parishad, a platform that teamed up with the BNP, had earlier predicted that the government would fail to get the IMF loan. His posts went viral on social media platforms.
“There is no chance this government would receive IMF funding…I can say it for certain,” Kibria had said.
He had even ridiculed the country’s finance minister, saying “It is not his mama bari (mother’s home) as I understand, so he (finance minister) should stop peddling lies like their government may get an IMF loan.”
But the reality proved to be far different from what he had predicted.
“The government has done an admirable job of handling the Covid crisis, of ensuring that Bangladesh came nowhere near the Sri Lanka situation, and of coming by the IMF loan”, said Badrul.
BANGLADESH OPPOSITION DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN
When the Covid wave had started taking a toll on the country, the BNP-backed opposition and a cabal of doomsday forecasters had unleashed a barrage of disinformation campaigns, predicting that millions would die due to the pandemic.
Their disinformation campaign did not end here. BNP stalwarts, including Mirza Fakhrul and Amanullah Aman, also led a wave of a disinformation campaign, predicting a Sri Lanka-type collapse for Bangladesh, according to media reports.
The Opposition, in its attempt to bring down the Awami League government, did not seem to hesitate in working against the national interest by weakening the country’s pitch for an IMF loan.
“With complete certainty, we can assure you that the IMF would reject the government’s approach for a loan that would help the country ride out the global headwinds”, Fakhrul had said at a political rally.
But, the Awami League-led government led the country to emerge as a top performer in Covid management with the accomplishment of the WHO target—vaccinating 70% of the entire population— as the country has been ranked among the top ten successful indexes, including Bloomberg and Nikkei Asian Review, says Tonmoy Ahmed, who coordinates Awami League’s web team.
And now, the IMF has signed off on a $4.7 billion support loan package for Bangladesh.
From Padma Bridge to the Covid pandemic to the IMF loan, not only has the Opposition been proved wrong, their disinformation campaigns have also failed terribly.
Talking about the opposition parties’ attempt to bring down the Awami League government, Ajoy Das Gupta, an eminent researcher, said, “It is time the people see through this and punish the opposition parties when it matters–at the hustings.”