JICA will never stop cooperation with Bangladesh: JICA chief

DHAKA, May 26, 2017 (BSS) - Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has assured again of continuing its assistance in Bangladesh's development, saying it would never stop cooperation with Dhaka.

The assurance came when JICA President Dr Shinichi Kitaoka paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official Ganabhaban residence here last night.

"Bangladesh and Japan have been enjoying very good relations and JICA will never stop cooperation with Dhaka," Prime Minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim quoted the JICA president as saying while briefing reporters after the meeting.

Dr Kitaoka expressed his satisfaction over the security measures taken in Bangladesh after the last year's militant attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka's Gulshan area.

"We're very much satisfied with the security measures under your leadership," he told the premier.

The JICA president highly appreciated the government's initiatives to clamp down terrorism and militancy and involve the cross section of people in the campaign against these social menaces.

"The people's eyes are the best defence and it's a very good move you've taken," he told the prime minister.

Dr Kitaoka also lauded the Bangladesh's socioeconomic uplift under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.

"I'm really impressed to see the development that took place in Bangladesh under your dynamic leadership ... you've overcome so many hurdles and it's our pleasure to contribute to Bangladesh's development," he said.

The JICA president highly appreciated Bangladesh's achievement of millennium development goals and assured that they would extend more support to infrastructure development and education sector in Bangladesh.

He said the Muslim people from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia are working with reputation in Japan and they're not creating any trouble there.

The prime minister conveyed her heartfelt condolences to the families of seven Japanese nationals who were killed at the Holey Artisan Bakery attack on July 1 last year.

Noting that terrorism is a global problem, she said, "We've taken all steps to combat it."

Sheikh Hasina also referred to the ongoing campaign against militancy and terrorism including holding videoconferencing with the cross section of people of all divisions to create mass awareness against the social vices.

"Massive awareness against terrorism and militancy has been built in the country due to this campaign," she said.

The premier reiterated that the source of money and arms has to be stopped to stamp out the twin menaces of terrorism and militancy adding, "Terrorists are terrorists and they've no religion and no boundaries,"

Sheikh Hasina said that her government has been doing its best to ensure security in the country.

She also mentioned that there is an excellent religious harmony in Bangladesh, and the people belonging to various faiths are celebrating their festivals together.

Recalling the visit of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to Japan back in 1973, she said, "I've a very special place for Japan."

Spelling out her government's measures for development, the premier said that the only aim of her government is to change the lot of the poor and downtrodden people and also to ensure their basic rights.

Listing some of the macroeconomic achievements over the last few years, she said that the GDP growth has reached 7.24 percent in the outgoing fiscal year which was 7.11 percent in the previous fiscal year.

When the JICA chief mentioned the issue of traffic jam in the capital, she said that people of the country are now buying more cars as the economy of the Bangladesh is getting better.

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Senior PMO Secretary Suraiya Begum, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Masato Watanabe and Bangladesh Ambassador to Japan Rabab Fatima were present.

The JICA president arrived here on Wednesday on a three-day official visit to see several development projects financed by the organization and review the security situation in Bangladesh after the militant attack last year.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)