Vaccines must be free of cost for all Says Hasina


Unb, Dhaka
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged world leaders to formulate a well-coordinated roadmap to face the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has created a multifaceted global problem and it should be addressed globally. We need a well-coordinated roadmap to face this crisis,” she said while opening the 14th ASEM Finance Ministers’ Meeting.

The PM expressed optimism that the world is going to get effective vaccines against Covid-19 soon. She called for making the vaccines available free of cost for all countries.

“We are hoping that the world is going to get effective vaccines soon. They must be made available for all countries, especially the LDCs and developing ones, free of cost. The rich countries, multilateral development banks and international financial institutions should come forward with generous support in this regard.”

Hasina inaugurated the event, hosted by Bangladesh virtually, by delivering a pre-recorded video message, reports UNB.

The theme of the meeting is “Addressing Covid-19: Ensuring a Strong, Sustainable, Inclusive and Balanced Recovery”.

The premier urged the rich countries, multilateral development banks (MDB) and international financial institutions (IFIs) to come forward.

Emphasising greater collaboration to conquer any hurdle on the path to prosperity during this difficult time, Hasina said collaboration, not isolation, can help overcome any crisis.

The advanced economies must fulfill their unmet promises concerning duty-free and quota-free market access, and technological support for developing countries, the PM added.

She called upon the G-7, G-20, OECD countries, MDBs and IFIs to play their vital role in bailing out the affected LDCs and developing nations. The PM said they would have to come forward with increased fiscal stimulus, concessional finance, and debt relief measures.

Hasina said the Covid-19 pandemic has had devastating impacts on the health systems and economies of all countries.

She said the least developed and developing countries, in particular, are the worst-hit by the pandemic and a vast majority of the people are suffering from the loss of income and employment.

Talking about Bangladesh’s efforts for advancing its economy, the premier said the country achieved sustained high growth in the last one decade and also attained tremendous progress in some socio-economic indicators.

She mentioned that her government also adopted “Vision 2041” aiming to elevate Bangladesh to an upper-middle-income country by 2031 and a developed one by 2041.

The PM said the country was well on track to achieve SDGs, but the pandemic made a serious dent in the advancements despite her government’s all-out efforts to contain the spread of the virus. She said a large stimulus package was given to overcome economic losses.

Hasina said after suffering an initial setback for a few months, Bangladesh’s economy has started recovering.

Finance Minister AHM Mostafa Kamal delivered the welcome address, while vice presidents of World Bank and ADB, as well as the IMF’s deputy director for the Asia-Pacific region, gave keynote speeches at the meeting.

Finance ministers, advisers on the ministry of finance and representatives concerned of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) member states, including Germany, Spain, Poland, Bulgaria, Thailand, Japan, China, Myanmar, Indonesia and Singapore, are taking part in the event.


Meanwhile, a Bangladesh foreign ministry press release yesterday said participants of the ASEM Finance Ministers’ Meeting discussed and exchanged views on relief and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the most effective way for the timely implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.

The Meeting noted that the pandemic brought unprecedented challenges and untold sufferings around the world. As a consequence, more than one million people lost their lives, the socio-economic situation, public health, environment and society have seriously taken a hit and the global economic outlook remains uncertain.

Given the gravity of the devastation and challenges posed by Covid-19 on the economic situation and outlook, the Meeting acknowledged that mitigating social and economic impacts, safeguarding lives, livelihoods and businesses, and finding an effective solution to the Covid-19 are the ASEM member state’s urgent collective priority.