Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday feared that the national progress would be stalled unless the ruling Awami League was re-elected.
“Our past experience is very bitter,” she told business leaders. The country in the past witnessed discontinuation of the development process with the change of government.
“I don’t know what will happen if another party comes to power as the election is nearing.”
If people vote for the AL again, then it will be able to fulfil its targets, the PM said. “And, even if we don’t get their votes, we will also try to stand by them.”
Hasina inaugurated an international business conference titled “Destination Bangladesh” at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on the occasion of 60th anniversary of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).
“Sheikh Hasina opened the gateway for greater investment and is a trendsetter of transforming Bangladesh into ‘Destination Bangladesh’,” said a DCCI citation.
Hasina said in 1996 to 2001, her government had showed success in many areas, including power generation, improving literacy rate and food production.
“But unfortunately we found that the country went backwards in all those sectors in the next seven years, and the country went in the complete grip of terrorism, militancy, lawlessness and other anti-social activists.
“Two governments — one at Hawa Bhaban and the other at the Prime Minister’s Office — ruled the country when doing business was impossible for business people without making them happy,” the PM said.
After coming to power in 2009, Hasina said her government gradually brought discipline and put in force a system to take the country forward in a planned way.
Now, Bangladesh is progressing fast and many international agencies have also praised the country for the success, she added.
Hasina said according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational professional services network headquartered in London, Bangladesh would emerge as the world’s 28th largest economy by 2030 and 23rd largest economy by 2050, exceeding many developed economies like Australia, Spain, Malaysia and the Netherlands.
“I hope you the business people will do your business keeping the target in mind,” the PM said, adding, “If we come to power, we will do our best to fulfill the target.”
Urging the business people to bring diversity in their exports, Hasina said everyone should not be interested in producing only one item; rather you have to produce different items as per the people’s needs in different parts of the world.
In this regard, she mentioned inclusion of a business delegation in her every foreign trip, saying, “I always encourage them to search for their business partners during the visit.”
Hasina said her government had set a goal for quick development of the country through fulfilling the basic rights of 160 million people.
“In doing this, we have given utmost importance to the private sector as the sector is the key to strengthening the economy through investment.”
The PM said her government had done everything for the development of the economy in a planned way and set a goal to make Bangladesh a middle-income country by 2021.
To achieve the goal, she said the first five-year plan had already been implemented and the implementation process of the second five-year plan was underway.
Hasina said her government had also given focus on rural development and sending the benefits of trade and commerce to the grassroots.
Pointing out her government’s focus on regional and sub-regional cooperation, the PM said, “We want to explore the large market of South Asia.”
Against the backdrop of increasing per-capita income and purchasing capacity of people, Hasina hoped that the country would be able to achieve 8.25 percent growth next year as private sector would play a big role in fulfilling the target.
Mentioning her government’s plan to set up 100 Special Economic Zones across the country, the PM said her government envisaged expansion of industries under the private sector.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, State Minister for Finance MA Mannan and President of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin) attended the function as special guests.
DCCI President Abul Kashem Khan delivered the welcome address.