Minister: Bangladesh to try alternative channels for trade with Russia

Mustafa Kamal says he believes the war will stop soon

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said that Bangladesh will pursue alternative channels like currency swap to overcome any problem in trading with Russia, hit by US-led sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine.

“We don’t think the war will be long. If so, we will then think of alternative arrangements”, he told reporters after the two consecutive meetings of cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) and cabinet committee on public purchase (CCPP) on Thursday.

The CCPP approved a total of 12 procurement proposals including the import of 30,000 metric tons MOP fertilizer by Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) from Russia’s JSC Foreign Economic Corporation “Prodintorg” at Tk150.21 crore.

The finance minister was asked about anti-Russia sanctions imposed by the European Union and some other Western countries and its backing payment through the SWIFT system. So, whether Bangladesh will get its supply from Russia in time and what Bangladesh measures Dhaka will take if the payment system through SWIFT is obstructed under the current situation.

Replying to the question, Kamal said he believed the war would stop soon.

“From that point of view, we are considering it. Side by side, we keep the safety net measures as well”.

He said the government is also considering alternative sources.

“If we are not able to pay to Russia due to the SWIFT’s embargo, we have to take alternative measures through currency swap”.

He said many ways will come out. “But we want the war to stop for the sake of humanity.”

Kamal said the good relation between Russia and Bangladesh is undeniable.

He noted that Bangladesh’s import of the fertilizer from Russia is not new.

“We have been importing this item for a long time. This time we are also trying to continue importing the item. If they fail to send the item, we will definitely find alternative sources”, he said. 

“Until then we will continue with our current position,” the minister added.