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Speakers come down heavily on ADB

By voice - Posted on 07 April 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Staff Reporter - The New Nation

Immunity of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) should be rescinded forthwith to ensure accountability of the international financial institution, speakers demanded at a roundtable discussion yesterday. The special tribunal should scrutinise ADB's operations in the country, the speakers also demanded. VOICE organised the discussion on "Hear the Unheard: A Reality Check of ADB's Operations in Bangladesh" at the Conference Lounge of the National Press Club. Prof Anu Mohammad of Jahangirnagar University (JU), Hasanul Haq Inu, President of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Saiful Haque, General Secretary of Workers Party of Bangladesh, Md Shamsoddoha, Secretary of Equity and Justice Working Group, Zakir Hossain and Aminur Rasul, among others, attended the roundtable.

Referring to Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) of ADB as a sugar coated bitter pill, Anu Mohammad said the main purpose of the ADB is to exploit the people of Bangladesh rather than remove poverty from the country.
"A sector becomes vulnerable whenever the international financial institution like the ADB shows interest to come to its help," he said and added to privatise Bangladesh Railway it circulated misinformation to the people saying that it was a loss-making organisation.
The ADB had suggested our government to withdraw Rationing System, close down TCB and BIDC, Anu Mohammad disclosed.
He further said people should muster power to ensure accountability of the ADB.
"In the name of privatisation, the ADB was demolishing our service-oriented sectors like education and health" Saiful Haque said and added Micro or Macro economics could not work for the betterment of the poor.
Hasanul Haq Inu said, "We should ignore all the suggestions of the multinational organisations on reduction of subsidy."
Zakir Hossain said, "The ADB gobbled up 70 per cent of its aid money in the name of consultation for the project on Saving Biodiversity in the Sundarbans, though the interest on the aid was borne by the people of the country."
"We fail to understand why our governments become so interested to take aid which is only 6 per cent of our national budget from the international organisations," questioned Aminur Rasul.
Gabinda Dhar, a representative of the ADB, pointed out to the absence of any Government representative at the roundtable. He emphasised on Government's role at the time of project formulation and said, "The ADB cannot continue with its activities in Bangladesh without the permission of the Government."