MNA Editorial Desk: President M Abdul Hamid has said the Bangalee nation needs to forge an unwavering unity to build exploitation-free “Sonar Bangla” by uprooting terrorism, militancy, drug abuse and corruption from the society.
“I urge upon all, irrespective of political affiliations, religion, caste, and creed to accelerate the ongoing democratic process and socioeconomic development of the country,” the President said while addressing the first session of the 11th Parliament with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair on Wednesday.
Leader of the House Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Opposition’s Deputy Leader GM Quader and lawmakers of both treasury and opposition benches were also present during the President’s speech.
The head of the state called upon the treasury bench and opposition to jointly play a constructive and effective role in parliament to establish an exploitation-free ‘Sonar Bangla’ dreamed by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Terming the Jatiya Sangsad (JS) the center-point of people’s hopes and aspirations, he said no nation can ever achieve peace and happiness without consensus about national issues.
Abdul Hamid categorically called for a concerted effort from all political parties and people to reach a consensus on the basic issues of the country, including regular practice of democracy, rules of law and unending socioeconomic development.
“The treasury bench and opposition will have to play constructive role to ensure transparency, accountability, tolerance, human rights and rule of law and to materialize the nation’s dream and aspiration,” he added.
In his 187-page speech, the President highlighted Sheikh Hasina government’s activities and successes in different areas, including economy, trade and commerce, agriculture, power, foreign relations, tourism, education, health, good governance, women and children development, sports and youth development, rural development, expatriates’ welfare, science and technology, development of foreign relations, information and communication technology (ICT) and public administration.
Referring to formation of the new government, the President said, “A fresh spirit has been infused in all spheres of national life after the assumption of office by the newly formed government.”
He hoped that the multidimensional initiatives undertaken by the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in various areas will be further strengthened and expedited in days to come.
“Ours is a journey towards peace, democracy, development and prosperity. And we have to keep it up,” President Abdul Hamid mentioned.
He said the nation will celebrate centenary birthday of the father of the nation in 2020 and the golden jubilee of the Independence in 2021 for being a middle income country.
“Nevertheless, our dream is not limited here . . . We need to look beyond 2021 and the nation expects that we will appear to the international arena as a developed and prosperous country by 2041 showing our dignity,” he added.
President Abdul Hamid said Bangladesh is now known to the world as a state of emerging economy owing to efficient management of the government.
“Despite various global and domestic adversities, Bangladesh economy has been able to maintain macroeconomic stability, which has earned international acclaims for the country,” he said.
About the economic situation, he said, Bangladesh holds the 33rd place in world economy and 41st place in GDP based on purchasing Power Parity (PPP).
The GDP in FY 2017-18 has been Tk 22 trillion, which is five times higher than that of the FY 2005-06.
“During 2005-06 the per capita income was US$ 543, which was increased to US$ 1,751 in FY 2017-18,” the President mentioned.
He noted that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has achieved different prestigious and international awards for her uncompromising and charismatic leadership for ensuring peace and security for development, democratic practice, good governance, eliminating terrorism, empowering women, developing and expanding education, health and ICT sectors and mitigating challenges caused by environmental changes.
He congratulated the prime minister as these international acclaims of her have elevated the image of Bangladesh to a new height across the globe.
The President said the 7th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) has been prepared aiming at empowering citizens by accelerating growth, creating more jobs, and reducing poverty level to implement over a period of July 2015 to June 2020, which is at operational stage.
In last 10 years of the government, he said huge employment opportunities have been created and about 1.34 crore people got jobs in different areas at home and 8.0 million others abroad.
The government earlier created more employment opportunities by reopening of the closed mills and factories which plays an important role in fulfilling the election manifesto of the government.
The Present said the government is firmly pledge-bound to eliminate all forms of terrorism and militancy from the country and to fulfil this pledge all-out efforts are being made in continuation of the steps taken by the previous government of grand alliance.
On foreign relations, the President said Bangladesh has been successful in improving bilateral relations with neighboring countries and in international diplomacy.
The government has been continuing its unending efforts to preserve and widen rights of Bangladesh on important global issues, he added.
About women and children development, the President said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken several programmes to ensure women and children rights as well as women empowerment in Bangladesh.
The number for reserved seats in parliament has been extended to 50 targeting at women empowerment, he said, adding, “The arrangements have been made for increasing the number of reserved women seats to one-third of the total seats in union parishads, upazila parishads and municipalities for direct election.”
Saying that Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony, the President said the government is working for nourishing religious culture, concerns and spirit to scale up the values of people as well as the socio-cultural condition, BSS reported.
Abdul Hamid said the government’s ‘zero tolerance policy’ against drug, militancy and fanaticism, have got worldwide appreciation and “Comfort has been restored in the civic life.”
The government’s commitment to build “Digital Bangladesh” has been on course to be fulfilled for last 10 years, he said adding that Premier’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy was awarded ‘ICT for Development’ award at the 71st conference of UNO held in 2016 for his special contributions to the IT sector.
The President , in his nearly one and a half hour speech, also mentioned different development in health sector and highlighted the contribution of Saima Wazed, daughter of the prime minister, for overall progress in autism in Bangladesh setting an example that earned global commendation.