Bangladesh interim govt’s authority to talk, ink policy deal with IMF challenged in court

NewAge, September 17, 2007

The interim government’s authority to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund for signing a Policy Support Instrument deal and handing over the management of Newmooring container port in Chittagong to the private sector has been challenged in the High Court.

A Supreme Court lawyer, M Mesbahul Islam, on Sunday filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging the legality of the government’s move in these regards. The petition is likely to come up for hearing before a High Court bench of Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana and Justice Abu Tarique today, the petitioner’s counsel Abdul Wadud Khandaker told the media.

According to the constitution, the caretaker government has no power do deal with any policy matters, other than discharging regular day-to-day affairs and providing the Election Commission with the necessary supports for holding free and fair elections, the petition mentioned.

The caretaker government has no right whatsoever to negotiate for or sign any agreement with the IMF or the World Bank as that does not fall under its work defined by the constitution, it argued. ‘In flagrant violation of the constitution, the government has partially acted upon the prescription[s] of the IMF and the World Bank that has caused price hike of essential commodities and given rise to inflation,’ causing ‘colossal and irreparable damage’ to the national economy, it alleged.

Signing of a PSI agreement with the IMF will not only push the country’s economy to unpredictable consequences, it will also allow the global lending agency to interfere in matters which is clearly and manifestly opposed to the country’s sovereignty, the petition said.

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