PM calls for austerity again
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the people to take austerity measures amid high inflation and price hike of goods across the world due to the Russia-Ukraine war and the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Yes, it is true that prices of goods have shot up to some extent. But it is still uncertain how much the prices would soar further. It is not only in Bangladesh, but also throughout the world. Rather we've been able to keep these under control at least [to some extent]. We've been trying our best," she said.
The premier was addressing a discussion online from the Gono Bhaban.
Bangladesh Awami League arranged the discussion at its central office in the city's Bangabandhu Avenue marking the historic Six-Point Day. Hasina, also the AL president, chaired it.
She said this war doesn't seem to end soon. "We all have to be economical. We'll have to pay attention so that food does not get wasted."
The shipping cost of goods went up from US$ 800 to US$ 2500-US$ 3,000, she said.
Pointing to the readymade garment workers' movement to raise salary, the premier said they might lose their jobs if any unrest is created in the sector in this tough time when the purchasing power of the people is declining in the export markets of Bangladeshi clothes.
"I think the matter should be informed to the workers and their leaders," she said.
The labour leaders will not face any trouble as they will get a good amount of money from instigators. "But what will be the fate of workers? They will be affected for taking to the streets."
Hasina said her government increased the salary of the apparel workers on several occasions. A worker now gets Tk 8,000-Tk 10,000 a month and other facilities, but the salary was only Tk 1,600 in the past, she added.
She said the government has been providing subsidies in different sectors. It has given all sorts of incentives to the garment sector. "It is not possible to provide more than that," she added.
As the government helped the factories preventing their closure for Covid-19, now they get work orders, their exports increase and they can import capital machinery, she said.
The PM said if anyone wages movement leading to the shutdown of the factories, the job would also be lost. "If you don't understand it, we have nothing to do here. Because how much more can we give to the private sector?" she said.