Uncertainty to grip development process unless AL is reelected: PM

DHAKA, Oct 28, 2018 : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today feared that
the current pace of national progress would be stalled unless the ruling
Awami League was reelected to power as she addressed the country’s top
business leaders.

“Our past experience is very bitter,” she told the business leaders saying
the country in the past witnessed discontinuation of the development process with the change of government.

The premier added: “I don’t know what will happen if another party come to power as the election is approaching”.

She said if people give vote to Awami League again, then it will be able to
fulfill its targets, saying “And, if we even don’t get their vote, we will
also try to stand beside them.”

The prime minister inaugurated an international business conference titled ‘Destination Bangladesh’ at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) here on the occasion of 60th anniversary of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, State Minister for Finance MA Mannan and President of Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Shafiul Islam Mohiuddain attended the function as special guests while Abul Kashem Khan, President of DCCI gave welcome address.

On the occasion, DCCI conferred the ‘Visionary Leadership Award’ on the
Prime Minister, terming her a ‘torchbearer’ of Sonar Bangla and a real change maker who is an inspiration to the private sector.

“Sheikh Hasina opened the gateway for greater investment and a trendsetter of transforming Bangladesh into ‘Destination Bangladesh’,” a citation of the DCCI said.

Sheikh Hasina said in 1996 to 2001, her government had showed successes in many areas including power generation, improving literacy rate and food production and many other areas.

“But, unfortunately we found that the country went backward in all those
sectors in the next seven years and the country went under the complete grip of terrorism, militancy, lawlessness and other anti-social activists,” she said.

“Two governments — one at Hawa Bhaban and other in the Prime Minister’s Office — ruled the country when doing business was very impossible for businessperson without making them happy,” the prime minister said.

After coming to power in 2009, Sheikh Hasina said her government gradually has brought everything under a discipline and put in force a system to take forward the country in a planned way.

Now, Bangladesh is progressing fast and many international agencies also
acclaimed the country for the success,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina said according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC),
Bangladesh would emerge as world’s 28th largest economy by 2030 and 23rd largest economy by 2050, exceeding many developed economies like The Netherland, Australia, Spain and Malaysia.

“I hope you the business persons will do your business keeping the target
in mind,” the prime minister said, adding that “If we come to power, we will do our best to fulfill the target.”

Urging the businesspersons to bring diversity in their export basket, the
premier said everyone should not be interested in producing only one item, rather you have to produce different items according to the needs of the people in different parts of the world.

In this regard, she mentioned inclusion of a business delegation in her
every foreign trip, saying “I always encourage them to search their business partner during the visit.”

Sheikh Hasina said her government has set a goal for quick development of the country through fulfilling the basic rights of the 160 million people.

“In doing this, we have given utmost importance to the private sector as
the sector is the key to make the economy strengthen through investment,” she said.

The prime minister said her government has done everything for economic
development in a planned way and set a goal to make Bangladesh a middle
income country by 2021.

To achieve the goal, she said, the first five-year plan has already been
implemented and the implementation process of second five-year plan is under way along with a long term perspective plan for 2041 when “we want to see Bangladesh as a developed nation in South Asia.”

Sheikh Hasina said her government has also given focus on rural
development for expansion of the trade and commerce up to rural level and socioeconomic development of grassroots people.

“No development including industrial one cannot be economically
sustainable without improving the economic condition and enhancing purchasing capacity of the rural people,” she added.

Pointing out her government’s focus on regional and sub-regional
cooperation, the prime minister said “we want to explore the large market of South Asia.”

Sheikh Hasina said her government assumed office in 2009 amid global
economic recession. Her government’s well-thought out policy and dynamic steps helped keeping the economy out of the adverse effect of the recession, yielding average six percent annual growth which reached to 7.86 percent in last fiscal, she continued.

In the backdrop of increasing per-capita income and purchase capacity of
the people, the prime minister hoped that the country would be able to
achieve 8.25 percent growth next year as private sector would play a big role to fulfill the target.

Mentioning her government’s plan to set up 100 Special Economic Zones
(SPZs) across the country, the premier said her government envisaged
expansion of industries under private sector.

“The SPZs are being set up to attract private investments aimed at creating
job opportunities,” she said, adding that “the government will provide you
land and other utility services including electricity and communication
facilities.

Sheikh Hasina said her government has set a goal of producing 24,000 MW electricity by 2020 and 40,000 MW by 2040. Under the Delta Plan-2100, country’s total electricity generation would be 60,000 MW, she also said.

The prime minister thanked DCCI for organizing such a timely event to
portray the pace of growth of our dynamic private sector, hoping that the
conference with the foreign partners would be able to explore real potential sectors.

She also reassured her support to the private sector to continue the
country’s economic growth spree.