CPD is biased, wicked: Muhith

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith has launched a stinging attack on the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) for its ‘anti-government’ role saying its report on the economic growth is ‘biased’.

“I am hurt by the continuous attack from our so-called civil society on the government,” he said in an interview with bdnews24.com on Tuesday.

“They have criticised the government based on reports run by The Economist without research,” he alleged.

It was a matter of “great regret” for him and the government, he observed.

Muhith, coming from a civil service background, is expected to present the government’s last budget on Jun 6.

He has so far presented six budgets, two of which were during the rule of military strongman HM Ershad.

“CPD is always criticising our government since it does not like us,” the minister, apparently irritated, said of the non-government research organisation.

He said the private research firm is losing ‘neutrality’ it once enjoyed.

“CPD is making bogus reports one after the other. In 2011, they said the government was ruining the country’s economy by taking bank loans.

“All of its reports are false and baseless aimed at only harassing the government,” the Finance Minister commented.

He said he would evaluate the government’s successes and failures over the past four and a half years when he will present the budget.

“The philosophy of my last budget is higher growth and increased investment.”

Muhith previously said he would not become a minister even if the incumbent government is elected for a second straight time.

He rubbished CPD’s forecast that GDP in the current fiscal will not be more than six percent.

“Their projection is not correct. I am asserting again that this time the growth will be between 6.3 and 6.8 percent.”

The minister said the economy grew at 6.3 percent last year and claimed no other government had been able to maintain the growth.

The Finance Minister said despite all the headway, CPD continued to criticise the government which is unbecoming of a neutral organisation.

“I have always said CPD has lost its neutrality. It is an evil racket whose only job is to slate the government.”

“It is unacceptable,” he continued.

Muhith discounted the CPD observation that if the government began bridging the Padma with fully with domestic finance, funding to other sectors will be reduced.

“They (CPD) did not consider the fact that the volume of budget has also increased. There will not be problems with allocations in other sectors when the budget volume expands.”

Last month, he said Tk 68.52 billion – Tk 19.83 billion and US$ 608 million in foreign currency – had been allocated in the next budget for construction of Bangladesh’s largest infrastructure project till date.

“We’ll spend $200 million Indian grants on the project. India has already given its permission. We’ve already received $100 million,” Muhith added.

The much-hyped project ran into trouble after its lead financer, the World Bank, suspended its pledged $1.2 billion loan raising graft allegations. The government refuted the charges and announced to go ahead with the project, one of its electoral pledges, with own funding.

Economist Professor Rehman Sobhan-led CPD began its journey in 1993.

The institution says on its website besides researching primarily on several socio-economic sectors, it also analyses the government’s policies.

The institution’s Board of Trustees includes Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, BRAC founder Fazle Hasan Abed and two former caretaker advisors Sultana Kamal and Syed Manzur Elahi.

The others on the board include Bangla Academy President Anisuzzaman, woman leader Khushi Kabir, Syed Humayun Kabir, Nurul Haque, former Finance Minister M Saiduzzaman and Laila Rahman Kabir.

Source: Bd news24

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