Use only Pragati-made cars for dev projects: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed using locally-manufactured cars of the state-owned Pragati Industry instead of imported vehicles in development projects, considering the current economic situation.
Announcing the prime minister's directives at a press conference on Tuesday, Planning Minister MA Mannan said, "In our development projects, foreign brands such as Mitsubishi, Toyota and other luxury vehicles are purchased. Many claim that foreign cars are durable. We must come out of the idea that only imported cars are durable."
Speaking after the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) in the capital on Tuesday, he said, "Locally-assembled cars are not bad at all. I have been using a Pragati car for the last four years and have not faced any issues."
According to the Planning Commission, the number of ongoing projects is 1,627. More than half of these have allocations for buying cars. Some projects purchase more than 10 vehicles. However, in the current situation, the purchase of cars has been stopped to reduce government expenditure.
Officials of the Roads and Highways Department said more than 50 vehicles were purchased annually for their different development projects.
Most of these were bought from Japan.
The case is the same for other large implementing agencies. Almost all investment projects within large implementing agencies have provisions for the purchase of vehicles.
Mannan also said the PM had instructed not to task the project directors of development projects with any additional responsibility.
"They must be solely dedicated to the project work."
At the time, the premier emphasised implementing projects with local manpower following domestic regulations and policies.
During the Ecnec meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had emphasised boosting agricultural production in the country besides ensuring proper preservation, processing and exporting.
She urged all concerned to give proper attention to the cultivation, preservation and processing of pulse, onion and mustard oil, ensuring no land remains untilled.
Inflation still a worry
Touching upon the current macroeconomic situation of the country, Planning Minister MA Mannan said the general point-to-point inflation had increased slightly in February, while it could increase further in March.
"If there is a bumper Boro harvest, then inflation may come down from Baishakh, but there should not be excessive rainfall during this period," he added.
The minister said the overall economy is now in a much better state, adding, "If the inward remittance, export earnings and crops yield go in the same direction, then there is nothing to worry,"
Manipulate, not just monitor Ramadan market
Asked about any specific directive from the prime minister to rein in inflation during Ramadan, Mannan said there was a tendency among the people to resort to "panic buying" ahead of and during the Ramadan month, which allowed businessmen to capitalise on the situation.
He said the PM has asked all concerned to remain cautious in this regard.
She also asked everyone to stay alert so that goods aren't hoarded during Ramadan, the minister added.
A total of nine projects worth Tk1,730 crore were approved in Tuesday's Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room in the capital.
The projects are: Capacity Building of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (1st Revised), Construction of 112 Residential Flats for Government Officials of Bangladesh Parliament Secretariat at Agargaon, Sustainable Coastal and Marine Fisheries (1st Revised), Survey of Construction of Important Bridges on Rural Roads (2nd Phase) ) project, Bangladesh Village Court Activation Project (3rd Phase), Nationwide Mobile Library Project, Project for Improvement of Equipment for Technical Education, Establishment of Dhaka Technical Teacher Training Institute" (3rd Revised), and Pre-Paid Gas Metre Installation (3rd Revised) project.