Update August 20, 2020

Dhaka 8-11 am, 21-September, 2020

Work to attract youthfolk in investment, PM asks BEZA

Mirajul Moin Joy

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authorities (BEZA) to take more steps to promote the small entrepreneurs, especially the youthfolk, in making investments in special economic zones alongside attracting foreign investments to further accelerate the country’s pace of socioeconomic development.

“We’ve to work to encourage the small entrepreneurs, particularly the youthfolk, in making investments (in the 100 special economic zones) instead of running after jobs to further speed up the pace of socioeconomic progress of the country,” she told the 7th meeting of the BEZA’s governing body virtually.

The premier simultaneously directed all concerned to go for industrialisation alongside agricultural development by wooing local and foreign investments aimed at creating job opportunities by protecting the arable lands and environment as well.

Sheikh Hasina joined the virtual meeting through a videoconference from her official Gangbhaban residence, while the other governing body members got connected from the Prime Minister’s Office snd Bangladesh Secretariat.

“There is no doubt that our economy depends on the agriculture. But, we need more industrialisation as no country can prosper without it (industrialisation),” she said.

The premier, however, stressed the need for saving the arable lands to ensure food security of a huge population despite the fact that the country’s land size is small.

Sheikh Hasina, also chairman of the governing body, the highest policy-making body of BEZA, also instructed all concerned to maintain the environmental balance in case of industrialisation as her government has already adopted the Delta Plan to this end.

“We’ve selected specific areas for establishing 100 special economic zones mainly to protect the arable lands and the environment as well,” she said.

The premier said the government wants planned industrialisation across the country to raise employments and production to meet the growing demands of the countrymen alongside increasing exports.

In this connection, she said that special economic zones are being set up at different parts of the country (instead of centering only the capital or ports) aimed at using the crops, that are produced especially in a particular zone, to use those as rawmaterials in food processing industries.

“Ensuring overall development of the country is the main goal of our government, and that’s why we’re continuing our efforts for industrial development and thus creating more employment opportunities,” the prime minister said.

Sheikh Hasina reiterated her optimism that the country would further advance socioeconomically despite the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy including Bangladesh.

Recalling the measures taken by the government of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for ensuring overall development of the country, the prime minister said the Bangabandhu government made its contribution in every sector.

“After assuming office in 1996, I became astonished seeing that there was any sector left untouched of development by the Bangabandhu government as the Father of the Nation only got only three and a half years after independence,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina, elder daughter of Bangabandhu, went on saying that the Father of the Nation assuming office with everything destroying took every possible measure to put Bangladesh on a dignified position of the world.

The premier added that the Father of the Nation reopened the abandoned mills and factories by making those nationalised and gave stimulus packages to the farmers alongside reconstructing the already destroyed bridges, culverts, roads, rail lines and other development structures.

“Bangabandhu had first introduced the five-year plan and decentralised the power by making 60 districts by bifurcating 19 ones for accelerating country’s socioeconomic development and set up health centres at the union level to reach healthcare services at the people’s doorsteps,” she said.

Bangladesh turned around in only three and a half years thanks to the measures taken by the Bangabandhu government, Sheikh Hasina said.

“But unfortunately, the politics of conspiracy and killings likewise the Pakistani style was initiated by the military dictators after the assassination of the Father of the Nation alongside most of his family members on August 15, 1975,” she said.

The prime minister said that Bangladesh had to become dependent on others after the brutal killing of Bangabandhu as no pro-liberation government was in state power at that time.

Assuming office in 1996 after long 21 years, the Awami League government made Bangladesh self-dependent in all sectors, she said, adding that the country became a food surplus one with 26 lakh metric tons which was previously shortfall by 40 lakh metric tons during the BNP-Jamaat government.

Bangladesh went backward again in seven or eight years when the pro-liberation Awami League government was not in state power at that time, Sheikh Hasina remarked.

After assuming office with the landslide victory in 2008 general elections, the premier said her government has been working tirelessly since then to ensure country’s overall development to build the country a “Sonar Bangla” as dreamt by the Father of the Nation.

“Bangladesh had progressed a lot to this respect, but the coronavirus has put an adverse impact on the country’s economy likewise the global economy,” she said.

The prime minister expressed her hope that the economy of Bangladesh and the world would return to their normal state after ending of the coronavirus pestilence.

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