You are hereBlogs / voice's blog / ADB projects far away from growth, poverty reduction: seminar

ADB projects far away from growth, poverty reduction: seminar

By voice - Posted on 27 April 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Staff Correspondent - New Age

Speakers at a discussion on Saturday observed that the projects of the Asian Development Bank have neither brought about economic growth nor reduced poverty in Bangladesh, but have rather increased the suffering of the people.
Addressing the meeting on ‘A reality check on the ADB’s operations in Bangladesh, impact of policies and projects on people’s life and national economy’, they also demanded cancellation of the immunity given to this regional bank.
Research-based organisation Voice organised the discussion at the National Press Club.
‘Not only the ADB, but also the other global lending agencies and multi-national companies should be made accountable for their activities in the country,’ Professor Anu Mohammad of Jahangirnagar University told the audience.
He said that the country was facing two types of dangers — one relating to development and the other to poverty reduction — which he said was the outcome of the wrong policies of the global lending agencies and profit-mongering multinational companies working in Bangladesh.
Due to the conspiracy of these companies, said Anu Mohammad, most of the public sector industries have been ruined in the last two decades.
He denounced the government’s sudden price-hike of compressed natural gas without thinking of its impact on the low-income groups and common masses. He smelled a rat behind this decision of the military-backed interim government.
Zakir Hossain of Unnayan Annesha said the lion’s share of the money for various projects was being spent for consultancy. ‘But we Bangladeshis have to shoulder the burden of the loan,’ he added.
‘ADB is an anti-people bank acting in favour of imperialism,’ said Arup Raki, referring to the results of the research conducted on the impacts of the bank’s activities in the country.
Karmajibi Nari’s leader Shirin Akhtar called upon the groups and organisations to come forward in a united manner and stand together against these evil forces to save the country from further ruination in the name of development.
‘How can a bank talk like a political power in an independent, sovereign country?’ she questioned.
Representatives from various non-government organisations addressed the function that highlighted the adverse impacts of ADB’s projects on the country’s economy, agriculture and life.
‘The projects of the ADB are being implemented without taking the opinions of the people. Thus these projects cannot be of any benefit to them,’ said Towhidul Islam, who works for Actionaid Bangladesh.
President of a faction of the Jatiya Samjtantrik Dal, Hasanul Huq Inu, urged the government not to accept the advice of the lending agencies and multi-national companies. ‘Let’s formulate our own development policies.’
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of Voice who presented the keynote paper on the theme of the discussion, pointed out the ill-motives of various ADB-funded projects, saying the bank was blatantly working for multi-national companies as it is not accountable to the government.
‘The immunity given to the ADB should be cancelled immediately for the greater interest of the country,’ he told the audience.