Bangladesh watchful about debt trap, says PM

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Dhaka, July 08: Mentioning that the external debt is only around 14 percent of the country’s GDP, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said Bangladesh is alert enough so that it does not fall into any debt trap.“We’re careful enough about the debt trap. Our foreign debt burden is not a very heavy one. Our debt is only around 14 percent of our GDP. We’re paying the (foreign loan) installments timely without any default,” she said, UNB reports.

The Prime Minister made the remarks while briefing media on Monday afternoon at her official residence Ganobhaban about the outcome of her just-concluded visit to China.

She said Bangladesh implemented 90 percent of the annual development programme (ADP) with own finances and the Padma Bridge is also being constructed with own fund.

In reply to a question from a reporter whether the relations of Bangladesh with the USA or other countries will be affected if Bangladesh-China ties get deeper amid the US-China trade war, Sheikh Hasina said this is not her job to see who engages in conflict, war or trade war with whom. “Economic development of our country is my only concern,” she said.

In reply to another question over growing incidents of child rape, she said her government is taking proper actions against rapists, including arresting them promptly.

The Prime Minister urged the male community to raise their voices alongside the female one against such violence against women.

Responding to another question over Bangladesh cricket team’s performance in the ICC World Cup, she said the team improved much. “I would like to thank them (cricket players) as they showed bravery and confidence. I didn’t see any lack of their confidence,” she said.

Responding to another query, the Prime Minister apparently ruled out the possibility to extend the age limit to enter the government job, placing a number of logics in support of keeping the current age limit unchanged.

She said a student can complete his or her post-graduation degree at the age of 23 years and the success rate of the BCS applicants aged 23-25 is higher than that of examinees aged 25-27 and much higher than that of BCS candidates aged above 29.

In the 35th BCS examination, 40.7 percent of the candidates who came out successful were aged 23-25 while 30.29 percent aged 25-27 and 13.17 percent aged 27-29 years and 3.45 percent candidates were aged above 29, the Prime Minister said.

The rate successful candidates in the 36th BCS examination was 37.45 percent, 34.78 percent, 14.89 percent and 3.23 percent respectively while it was 43.65 percent, 23.35 percent, 7.20 percent, 27-29 years and 0.61 percent respectively in the 37th BCS examination, she said.

“If the age limit is extended to 35 years, what will be the situation? There’s a certain age to do work,” Sheikh Hasina said.

“What will be the consequences if anyone joins job at the age 35? He or she will have to be imparted training till 37 years,” she added.

The Prime Minister said any government job holder will have to fulfill 25 years in service to get the full pension benefit.