We live in the soil, invest in the underworld: MA Mannan

Former Planning Minister MA Mannan said that during his tenure in the Ministry of Planning, he had to approve many projects against his own opinion.

He said, ‘Such projects have passed through my hands or are going through my hands with which I do not agree wholeheartedly. We live in bhuta (soil), invest in the underworld. There are many such projects in Bangladesh.

He said these things at CPD’s budget dialogue-2024 at a hotel in the capital on Wednesday (June 12) at noon.

This former planning minister said, ‘This is my own statement. At the moment I am not part of the government. Politically, I am in the party and parliament. Representing common people and rural areas. We got electricity in the village, community clinic. The Prime Minister has given these. We have made great achievements in agriculture.’

Highlighting 10 years of experience in project implementation, MA Mannan said, ‘Where are we spending in the budget, what are we getting from there – these things need to be judged. Need to see if there is any return at all. We live on the surface, invest in the underworld. There is a need to think about this trend. In many places we kill supply, kill demand.’

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He said, ‘I was involved in the implementation of the project for about 10 years. I have many personal objections. As I am a team worker, captain, I should accept for my team, otherwise why am I with the team. Politically in the larger sense I am with him. But I must have a difference of opinion somewhere in the gaps here. Projects have passed through my hands or are going through my hands with which I wholeheartedly disagree.’

MA Mannan also said, ‘Inflation hurts us. But in my common sense, our inflation is creeping, crawling. If it had been faster, had no bulge – how much higher would it have been? It is unimaginable how much more Chobol would have had.’

He further said, ‘I think inflation is a byproduct of growth. One cannot leave the other. If we don’t grow, our standard of living will go down. Inflation will go down a bit, but everything will come down. We have to take this risk. Major economies have gone through this process.’

Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director of CPD gave a welcome speech on the occasion. He said, ‘Reducing the pressure of inflation and trying to maintain the depreciation of the foreign currency, I have not seen much action in the budget. The targets given in the economic indicators in the budget, these targets are not feasible in the current economic situation.

Jatiya Party’s Anisul Islam Mahmud, former caretaker government advisor Hossain Zillur Rahman and others also spoke at the event.