The premier said the pandemic forced closure of educational institutions in Bangladesh as elsewhere in the globe but students continued to attend classes on virtual media. She said made the comment on Thursday in a nationwide televised address coinciding with the beginning of the third year of the third term of her government.
Sheikh Hasina outlined her government’s policies and strategies to negate the pandemic impact on Bangladesh economy particularly keeping in mind the issues of poorer people.
“We have so far announced stimulus packages of Taka 1.21 lakh crore which is equivalent to 4.3 percent of the total GDP. We are still continuing the process considering the situation,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the corrupt elements irrespective of their political or party links and influence “are not being and will not be” spared to clear the development highway obstacles and reminded all that the Anti Corruption Commission was carrying on its mission “independently”.
The premier simultaneously sought everyone’s sharp vigil against any obstacle that could hinder the rapidness of the current development pace saying the nation was now embarked on a journey on the development highway.
“We are firmly committed to removing all hurdles on the way of development,” she said adding that, at the same time, her government would do everything needed to ensure people’s civic and democratic rights, upholding the rule of law.
Sheikh Hasina said her government prevented the rise of militancy with an iron hand and kept its cultural and spiritual heritage of being a nation of interfaith harmony.
“The followers of all religions faiths and casts have been living together maintaining mutual respect and they will do so in the future as well,” she said.
The premier said the COVID-19 pandemic left a huge scar throughout the globe when the cyclone Amphan, repeated and prolonged flooding alongside the pandemic exposed Bangladesh economy to a deeper crisis, which “we managed to overcome with firmness”.
“The world is yet to be freed from the coronaviris crisis (but) by the grace of Almighty Allah the death rate and infection rate caused by the pandemic continued to remain much low in Bangladesh,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government put in its all efforts to contain the pandemic and ensure the import of its vaccine as quick as possible.
“Frontline warriors like physicians, health workers, and law enforcement agency members will have the priority in getting the inoculate as soon as the vaccines are available” in the country, the premier said.
She reiterated her clarion call upon all to follow health guidelines, meanwhile, such as wearing of facemasks properly.
The premier said Bangladesh kept stabilized its economic performance defying COVID-19 onslaughts and “according to our estimates this year our GDP growth rate will stand at 7.4 percent.
She said different international agencies predicted Bangladesh to be on the top of the countries with higher GDP growth in Asia while the International Monitory Fund (IMF) report said Bangladesh was third top scorer among the nations across the globe.
Sheikh Hasina pointed out that the Bangladesh GDP last year grew by 5.24 percent when the per capita income stood at US$2,064.
The new year in the Gregorian calendar marked the beginning of the third year of the incumbent government’s current term when the nation awaited golden jubilee celebrations of the Independence amidst Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
“The coming March 26 will mark the golden jubilee of our Independence. We will celebrate it with all festivity InshaAllah if the coronavirus disappears. Simultaneously the Father of the Nation’s birth centenary functions will continue,” the premier said.