The Awami League government has ruined the country's energy sector completely through massive corruption and looting, says BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
"Now electricity, next fuel oil, and after that the country's foreign exchange reserves will be empty. Therefore, we will wage a protest not to realise multiple demands, but a one-point demand: "oust the government"," he said, addressing a protest rally in front of the National Press Club on Friday.
Dhaka City (North) unit BNP arranged the event to protest the price hike of fuel oil and gas, and the frequent load shedding across the country.
"The government in a planned way is pushing the economy of Bangladesh into a severe crisis. Their only goal is corruption and looting the country's money. Therefore, they will not be allowed to do it anymore," Fakhrul said.
Calling his party men to waging a movement without any delay, the BNP Secretary General said, "There is no more time. Wake up immediately."
Regarding Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader's speech, "There is no shortage of electricity and energy," Fakhrul raised a question and said "If there is no shortage, why do you apply load shedding?" Why are you rationing fuel oil and gas?"
Citing Awami League's stance a few days ago on not borrowing money from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mirza Fakhrul said, "According to recent media reports, the government has asked the IMF for a loan of $4.5 billion."
"The government always talks big about the country's development. With talk this, they fool the people of the country. Actually, the government is now in an awful state," Fakhrul said.
Mirza Fakhrul said, a few days ago, Awami League ministers and MPs said 100% electrification has been done… there will be no load shedding. Currently, there is two to three hours of load shedding in this city. And in villages now during the Boro season, where electricity is needed the most, there is load shedding for seven to eight hours.
"This government has looted thousands of taka in the name of generating electricity and has siphoned off the money abroad," Fakhrul said.
Citing that there was a loss of Tk28,000 crore in the power sector in 2021-22, he said 10 companies who have close links to the government, grabbed thousands of crores of taka without generating electricity.
Regarding foreign exchange reserves, Fakhrul said, "As per media reports, the usable reserve of the country is now $31 billion. Of that, about $8 to 9 billion is in gold. Experts say that only $16 billion in reserves can be used."
Dhaka city North unit BNP convener Amanullah Aman, presiding over the event, said "Unable to provide electricity, the government has gifted lanterns and candles to the people.
"More serious turmoil is likely in Bangladesh than in Sri Lanka," he said.