Government Policy

Bangladesh marching forward belying pessimists: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told parliament that Bangladesh is progressing at an irresistible development pace, belying all the misconceptions of the pessimists about the future of independent Bangladesh.

“In the year of the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence and Bangabandhu’s birth centenary celebration, the UNDP recommended the graduation of Bangladesh as a developing country in 2026. It’s a matter of pride for us,” she said.

The Prime Minister said this replying to a tabled question from ruling Awami League MP Momotaz Begom (Manikganj-2).

“The development of Bangladesh is advancing at an irresistible pace, removing all the misconceptions of the pessimists about the future of independent Bangladesh,” Hasina said.

She said her government has already taken different steps for taking and implementing plans to face the global trade challenges following the graduation of Bangladesh from a least developed country (LDC).

Detailing the steps, the PM said, “The government has taken measures to formulate a strategy and action plan over Preferential Market Access and Trade Agreement in a bid to expand the export market in facing the global trade challenges after the graduation of Bangladesh from an LDC.”

Bangladesh has taken initiatives to sign Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) with different commercially important countries, she added.

Initially, the government has taken a step to sign trade agreements with 10 countries and three alliances on priority basis, the PM said Bangladesh signed a PTA with Bhutan on December 6, 2020.

The 10 countries are India, Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Japan, Singapore, the USA, Canada, China and Malaysia, she said.

Besides, a process continues to conduct negotiations with Turkey, South Africa, Morocco, Mauritius, Senegal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya and GCC countries over PTA, FTA or CEPA, she said.

Noting that the feasibility studies over signing the trade deal with different countries, Sheikh Hasina hoped that the study which is now being jointly conducted by Bangladesh and India to sign CEPA will complete soon.

An initiative has also been taken to sign a FTA with China to expand bilateral trade and a joint feasibility study continues in line with a MoU signed between the two countries, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the process of signing FTA with Sri Lanka continues, which might be inked in March, 2022. The desired progress was also obtained to sign a PTA or FTA with Nepal and Indonesia.

She said the proposal for inking PTA/FTA/CEPA with the Maldives has been sent, while an initiative has been taken to form a working group between Bangladesh and Singapore to sign a bilateral FTA.

Initiatives are also there to have FTAs with Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya and Sierra Leone, while the feasibility studies are completed to sign FTAs with the USA and Japan, she cited.

Bangladesh has also been playing an important role in making APTA, TPS-OIC and D-8 Preferential Agreement effective, she said.

Due to successful diplomatic efforts of Bangladesh, the LDCs, including Bangladesh, have been able to obtain a number of facilities, including the time extension of pharmaceutical patent exemption till 2033 under Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). And general exemption was made relaxed for LDCs further for 13 years from 2021 and so, the special facility will remain till July 1, 2034, she said.

Safe communication network

Sheikh Hasina said the government is determined to build a safe and integrated communication network in the country, said the Prime Minister, replying to another question from AL MP Didarul Alam (Chattogram-4).

She said the government has been implementing a good number of projects to develop a public-friendly sustainable communication system in planned ways in the last one decade in order to ensure the safe journey of common passengers throughout the country, including Dhaka.

“The government is committed to easing traffic congestion, ensuring comfortable public transport, increasing discipline and security on roads, safe and risk-free roads, and developing an integrated multimedia communication network by keeping the consistency of the existing system and the changing situation with the future development,” Hasina said.

The Prime Minister mentioned her government’s efforts and successes for improvement of the road communication system.

Burn units in all district hospitals

In reply to another ruling party MP Nur Uddin Chowdhary Nayan (Laxmipur-2), the PM said the government has a plan to set up burn units in all district hospitals for expanding treatment services to patients with burn injuries.

She said the world’s largest burn institute was set up in Dhaka with an initiative of the present government and the 500-bed Sheikh Hasina National Burn and Plastic Surgery Institute, having modern facilities, continues its operation.

There is a 300-bed burn unit with Dhaka Medical College Hospital to deliver treatment services to the burn injured patients, she said, adding that there are burn units in 13 institutes and medical college hospitals in the country.

Hasina said Ecnec on December 1, 2021 approved a project titled “Establishment of Burn & Plastic Surgery Unit at 5 Medical College Hospitals’’ to set up modern burn units in Sylhet, Barishal, Rangpur, Rajshahi and Faridpur medical college hospitals with assistance from Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). There will be full-fledged 100-bed burn units in the five hospitals.

Besides, steps have been taken to establish modern burn units in Khulna and Mymensingh, while the process of setting up a modern burn unit in Chattogram Medical College Hospital continues, she said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh