Govt trying to curb spike in commodity prices: Obaidul Quader

Awami League (AL) general secretary and road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader speaks at a press conference on 19 February in 2024Prothom Alo

The government has been trying hard to rein in the spike in the prices of essential commodities, said Awami League (AL) general secretary and road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader Monday.

The minister said this while speaking at a press conference at the AL president’s Dhanmondi political office in the capital this afternoon.

In response to a question of a newsperson, Obaidul Quader posed a counter question saying, “Has the government shown any negligence in its task as the prices of commodities have been increasing? It is not that we are sitting idly to let the prices rise. Surely we are taking actions that can be done.”

The bridges minister said, “The prices of some products have been rising while some are coming down. There is a tendency of decreasing as well. And, it is normal that there would be fallout of the ongoing global crisis in our country too.”

A newsperson asked the AL leader about the remarks of Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, senior joint secretary general to key opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) at the medic conference.

Speaking about this, Quader said, “The opposition party has nothing now. People are not with them any longer. Even their activists are frustrated. Now they say something just to make the people and their activists aware that they are an opposition party.”

The road transport and bridges minister also spoke about the security of Bangladesh since a fight has been raging in Myanmar. “Bangladesh is always vigilant to protect its main border. There could be security risks along the border due to the ongoing restlessness in Myanmar. That is why we are always on alert in this regard.”

When asked about allegations of instigations of an intelligence agency in creating rivalry within the Jatiya Party and its splitting, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader said the Jatiya Party is the opposition in parliament. Outside of this, creating another faction dubbing that also as a Jatiya Party - this is their own affairs. No one of the Jatiya Sangsad is involved with this process.

Alleging that the government kept BNP leaders in jail and tried to reach a compromise before the 12th parliamentary election, the party called this as shameful.

Asked about this allegation, the AL general secretary said, “Lying is a part and parcel of the politics of BNP.”

He also spoke about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s attending the Munich Security Conference in Germany. He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s participation at the Munich Security Conference has reflected the importance of Bangladesh.

Quader said a general election was held in Bangladesh and a section of the world was also critical of this election. “Despite that, inviting the Bangladesh prime minister and partnering with her in important sessions on sensitive issues like security - this proves the importance of Bangladesh.”

He was also asked about the prime minister’s meeting with Ukraine president Zelensky and whether that would affect the diplomatic relations with Russia, the bridges minister said, “We won’t say anything about our position. The Russian ambassador and the embassy have their reactions. It was known from beforehand that there would be a meeting with Zelensky. The Russian embassy has already said that this won’t affect our (Bangladesh-Russia) relations.”

Later , he announced the party’s programmes for the International Mother Language Day to be celebrated on 21 February.