Mahfuja Mukul : The cabinet members of the new government have taken responsibility and given a strong message against corruption and syndicates. Some have declared jihad against corruption, some have said there will be zero tolerance against corruption. Someone else said that no syndicate can exist in Bangladesh. Most of the Ministers and Ministers of State have said the message of forming a people-friendly government by stopping syndicates and corruption.
Awami League won absolute victory in the 12th National Parliament election held on January 7. After that, a new cabinet was formed with 36 people including 25 ministers and 11 state ministers along with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The new cabinet members held their first office on January 14. On the first day most of the ministers spoke against corruption. Along with this, they also gave the message of increasing employment in the country, building a smart Bangladesh, and managing a smart market. They also gave message of hope to keep the prices of daily necessities within the reach of consumers. Analysts and economists are seeing the minister-state minister’s speech against corruption and syndicate as positive on the first working day. They say, the big problem of our country is corruption. There is a glimpse of a change in the words of ministers and ministers of state. The election manifesto of Awami League has also said about this. The extent to which the message given by the Ministers and Ministers of State against corruption and syndicates is implemented remains to be seen.
AB Mirza Azizul Islam, advisor to the former caretaker government and prominent economist told Daily Industry that the comments of the ministers and state ministers are welcome. Corruption is a big problem in our country. Increasing the price of goods in the market by syndicate is also a problem. I hope they will try their best to solve this problem.
On the first day of the minister and state ministers such comments give a glimpse of change or not? When asked such a question, he said, it gives a glimpse. To what extent that vision is implemented, it will be seen in the future.
Economist Ahsan H Mansoor told that we all want corruption to stop. There is no disagreement about this. But be careful about breaking the syndicate. We want to keep the supply side normal. We will not talk about breaking the syndicate, we will say that they have to be controlled, managed.
He said, the syndicate is not a stranger to us. These are our big companies. How these big companies are controlling prices needs to be monitored. The number of products is not too high, the number of products is too low. This includes products like edible oil, sugar. These products are price sensitive and are used by people daily. These products are imported in large quantities and they earn thousands of crores of rupees. It is good if the government can keep control in this place.
Another economist Dr. Zayed Bakhat told that our challenge ahead is to maintain the stability of the macro economy. Especially foreign exchange reserves, stabilization of currency exchange rates. Also keep inflation under control. In that case, I think that the words of the minister, state ministers to stop corruption on the first day will be helpful.
He said that the words said by the ministers and state ministers are in the election manifesto. They are saying the words of the manifesto in terms of their ministry. I think it is consistent with the manifesto of all political parties.
Corruption is considered to be a big problem in our country. Is there a glimpse of change in the words of the new ministers and state ministers on the first day? When asked such a question, he said, I think so. Because this time in the manifesto it is said separately and with importance.
Zero tolerance against corruption
On the first day in office, Health Minister Samant Lal Sen said, I will have zero tolerance for corruption. I myself have never committed corruption in my life. I spoke to the Prime Minister. He told me to do it, call me if there is any problem. I will do that. If I see corruption anywhere, I will try my best.
He said, now there are no doctors in villages, I know this is a problem. The reason for this must be found. I will try, I don’t just have to listen to one party, I have to talk to the doctor. I have to look into the doctor’s safety. I will take action after seeing everything.
He said, “My first task is to provide medical services to the marginalized people, at the grass root level. I can’t achieve that goal in one day. I have to sit down and talk to everyone, sit down with my two secretaries and decide what to do. If we can do this then Dhaka city will not have to be treated lying on the ground.
No syndicate can exist
State Minister of Commerce Ahsanul Islam Titu said that hoarding will be suppressed with firm hands, we want to manage smart market in smart Bangladesh. No syndicate can exist in Bangladesh. Action will be taken if anyone creates instability in the market by doing any manipulation.
He said, we want to control commodity prices through fair market management. It is not a fear. All those who do business in this country are patriots. We believe they will work for the welfare of people. It will be our responsibility to bring them into transparency and accountability. Especially those who work with our essential (emergency) products, those who work with products like oil, sugar, salt, we will ensure that they work with transparency and accountability.
Titu said, we are self-sufficient in agriculture. We have achieved unprecedented success in agriculture. We have no shortage of rice, vegetables, fish, eggs, chicken. But market management, smart want to do smart market management in Bangladesh. Want to reduce delivery time from producer or importer to consumer level. If the supply is good then no one will have a chance to manipulate the market and no one will have a chance to sell at high prices.
He said, if anyone tries to manipulate, we will suppress it with strong hands. Especially hoarding. We see that when Ramadan comes, some businessmen, I will not call them businessmen, some dishonest groups do these crimes in the name of business. We will suppress hoarding with strong hands. All our departments will be aware of this.
Minister of State for Commerce said, we want daily essential products to be easily available. So that everyone can afford it. We want to launch the smart market system from the beginning of this year. So that there is no interference between producers and consumers, importers and consumers. As you know many products depend on international market. We have to work with 100% transparency. I can guarantee it.
When asked what action will be taken against the syndicate, the Minister of State for Commerce said, I am not used to the word syndicate. No syndicate can exist in the country. I have worked with capital markets. No syndicate, hoarder could do any manipulation then. Here too we will succeed. Traders must operate within transparency and accountability. We have enough opportunities, request them, sit with them. We will tell them that if they do business with transparency, accountability, we will support them. But if you try to embarrass the government by any kind of manipulation, we will take action with strong hands.
He said, I will work for the public interest, not to protect the interests of any businessman. The Prime Minister has done the work with responsibility. I will try my best to do that. I assure consumers give me some time.
Jihad declared against corruption
Planning Minister Major General (retd) Abdus Salam said that there is no concession on corruption. Although it is a national issue. I think it is related to national and global affairs. I served as an MP for 15 years. But not a single person can say I was involved in any corruption.
He said, it is associated with national characteristics. It’s hard to give a hand here. It is related to education. But under the leadership of the Prime Minister, the struggle to eradicate corruption is going on, the war is going on and the jihad is going on. I will continue this battle. There is no compromise on the issue of corruption.
In response to a question about irregularities and corruption in development projects, he said, “I will not say that there is no corruption.” It cannot be fixed immediately. It can be seen that there is corruption in the appointment of primary teachers. What will children learn then? Children should be taught to be corruption free right from primary school. Then they will be fine in college university. I have given instructions in my area that no one can do corruption in recruitment.
All crises won’t disappear overnight
Finance Minister Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali commented that time should be given to control commodity prices in the upcoming Ramadan and said that all crises will not be resolved overnight. Finance Ministry alone cannot control the price of goods. I will work in coordination with the Ministry of Commerce.
He said, work will be done to prevent money laundering. The value of money has decreased, that will also be dealt with. Let’s see what can be done about it! There are challenges in the economy. Give me some time.
When asked what the government should do about how to overcome the crisis in the current economy and whether the price increase should be done artificially or not, the finance minister said, I have to give some time to say what I should do. We all know about the problem. I am watching and trying to understand. I will try to solve it as well.
Wants to stop corruption in railways
Railway Minister Md. Zillul Hakeem said, we want to stop corruption in railways. All of us will work on railway safety, railway land should not remain vacant. I will develop the railway as a whole. Development of railways is for the people. I want your help on the first day. We want to stop corruption in railways.
100 days plan
Environment Forest and Climate Change Affairs Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury said, we want it to be the number one ministry. On my part, I will take a decision with 100% transparency towards the law. I will work in coordination with the media. I want to give one hundred days plan in seven days. Besides, I will work in coordination with other ministries.
He said, we will fulfill our election manifesto. The progress of election manifesto implementation will be monitored regularly. If any structural change is required for the work, it should be done. We will do what is necessary with our work. Air pollution should be prevented. Forests must be preserved. Environment must be protected for sustainable development. I will not tolerate corruption or irregularities here. Bangladesh is moving forward, that progress must be sustained.
Special Correspondent: President of the Bangladesh Insurance Forum (BIF), BM Yusuf Ali, ha…