DHAKA, Jan 9, 2017 (BSS)-Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sought cooperation from all to continue the present pace of development as she inaugurated the Development Fair-2017 today.
"I want cooperation of the people of all classes and professions irrespective of party and opinion to advance the country further by keeping up the current pace of development," she said.
She added: "Bangladesh is our beloved motherland and we seek cooperation of all to build Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Bangabandhu."
The premier opened the three-day Development Fair-2017 across the country through videoconferencing from her official Ganabhaban residence here this afternoon.
Sheikh Hasina said the nation would celebrate the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 2020 and Golden Jubilee of Independence in 2021.
"We have set a target to establish Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous country during the period and we are working to achieve the goal ... I seek cooperation of all to achieve the aim," she said.
Wishing success of the Development Fair, the premier said it would be helpful for achieving the socioeconomic goal that her government has set.
"I hope that the fair would be helpful for achieving the socioeconomic goal that our government has set ... Bangladesh won't be plagued with the curse of poverty and would be freed from poverty and established as a developed and prosperous nation," she said.
The fair has been organized to bring all people under the government's uplift activities by informing the success stories to achieve Vision 2021 and Vision 2041 as well as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The theme of the fair is "Unnayoner Ganatantra, Sheikh Hasina's Mool Mantra" (Democracy for Development is the Key Motto of Sheikh Hasina).
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Engineer Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, PM's Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman, International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid Bipu and State Minister for ICT Division Junaid Ahmed Palak were present on the occasion.
PM's Principal Coordinator on SDGs Md Abul Kalam Azad, PMO Secretary Suraiya Begum, Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim were present at the function moderated by PM's Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury.
Later, the people and officials of four districts -- Tangail, Barisal, Khulna and Gopalganj -- were connected with through the videoconferencing.
At the outset of the function, Md Abdul Halim, the director general of the Governance Innovation Unit of the Prime Minister's Office, made a power point presentation on the development activities, while an audio-video presentation on the uplift was also made.
Various government and non-government organisations, banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions are taking part in the fair.
On this occasion, seminar, symposium, documentary film screening, display of photographs and posters, and holding cultural programmes have been arranged.
Terming terrorism and militancy as the main barriers to development, the prime minister reiterated her call to the people of all levels to build a social spirit against the twin social vices.
"We have taken anti-terrorism and militancy campaign to stamp out the twin monsters from the country. I think the people of all strata including guardians, imams of mosques and teachers should join this campaign so that nobody gets involved in terrorism and militancy," she said.
She added: "It (campaign) would help us further accelerate the pace of development and reach our desired goal of establishing a poverty and hunger-free Bangladesh."
Putting emphasis on a coordinated approach for building a poverty-free Bangladesh, the premier said her government wants to free the country from the curse of poverty very fast.
"We could be able to free Bangladesh from poverty very fast if the people of all classes and professions take a coordinated initiative in this regard," she said.
In this connection, the prime minister appreciated the initiatives of the officials of the administration of Khulna to create a fund by donating one-day salary to free the divisional city from beggars.
"This is a unique example ... those who once used to lead their life by begging now live in dignity and other cities and towns could be freed from beggars if their officials follow the instance of Khulna," she said.
Highlighting various initiatives of her government to reduce poverty, the prime minister said the rate of poverty in Bangladesh has declined to 22 percent.
"Bangladesh would be considered as a poverty-free middle income country if we can cut the rate by 7/8 percent by 2021," she said.
Elaborating her government's steps for development of the country, the premier said Bangladesh never experienced the uplift that the Awami League government did over the last eight years.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu founded the Awami League and liberated the country by his party through the liberation war and by making united the countrymen in 1971.
"Whenever Awami League comes to power, we think it's our responsibility to serve the people," she said.
The premier said the government is working round the clock for the betterment of the countrymen and is implementing the 7th five-year plan to ensure that all the common people get fruits of development.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has introduced micro-saving project instead of microcredit to make the marginal people self-reliant and free them from the high interest rate of microcredit.
Under the scheme, she said, the government is providing equal amount of money to his or her account, and to handle the saving, Palli Sanchay Bank was established.
The prime minister said the government has attached importance to sustainable development and is implementing various programs to achieve the SDGs set by the UN.
She said the government is establishing 100 economic zones across the country aimed at creating employment opportunities through planned industrialization, while steps have been taken to attract local and foreign investments.
The premier said Bangladesh has earned food autarky and in order to ensure food for all, misuse of agriculture land should be stopped through banning the establishment of industries here and there.
She also underscored the need for proper marketing of various agro items that are being produced in different areas of the country so that the interest of the farmers could be protected.
Sheikh Hasina said the aim of the Development Fair is to familiarize the people with the government initiatives for the socioeconomic development and involve the local people to expedite the existing development strides to make the steps sustainable.
In this context, she said the common people need to know what the government is doing for their welfare and hoped that the people would learn and understand the government initiatives for their welfare.
The prime minister said this fair would help materialize the programs that were taken to attain SDGs by 2030. "Through the fair, every districts could project their own history, cultural heritage and other traditions," she said.
Sheikh Hasina hoped that the Bangladesh missions abroad will arrange similar fairs to project the development strides of the government to the expatriate Bangladeshis as well as the development partners.
Celebrated actress Subarna Mustafa joined the videoconferencing from Barisal and praised such an initiative of the government to project its activities before the people.
She also appreciated maintaining the law and order in the southern divisional city as well as the neat and clean environment there.
The Development Fair-2017 is being held in all the 64 districts and 490 upazilas across the country from January 9 to 11. The date of the fair has been fixed commemorating the Homecoming Day of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and it has been dedicated to the memory of Bangabandhu.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)