Country has adequate reserve: PM

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Reiterating that the country’s reserve is being used for the welfare of the masses, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today slammed those who are misleading the people over the reserve and said her government would do everything possible so that none has to suffer.

“It is right that we have to spend from reserve (for welfare of the countrymen). We have such amount of reserve money that we can import food for five months although an amount required to import food for three months is enough to overcome any disaster,” she said.

She said this while inaugurating the 5th National Conference -2022 of the Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad (SWACHIP), a pro-Awami League organisation of the physicians, at the historic Suhrawardi Udyan, Dhaka.

The Prime Minister said people are becoming expert on reserve and holding talks about reserve in the tea-stalls, adding that the reserve is being used for the welfare of the people that include importing rice, wheat, edible oil, fuel oil and vaccines of the Covid-19, giving subsidies, investing in some projects and repaying the foreign loans.

Mentioning that prices of commodities, fuel have increased manifold alongside skyrocketing of the cost of transportation, she said they have to purchase wheat at 600 USD which was only 200 USD while the transportation cost increased to 3600 USD which was only 800 USD prior to the ongoing global crisis that stemmed from the Coronavirus pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war, sanctions and counter sanctions.

The Prime Minister assured the countrymen that they would not have to suffer as her government has been taking appropriate measures to overcome the crisis.

“We’re importing consumer goods from any part of the world at any price to make sure that the people do not suffer in way. The reserve is not only declining in our country, but also in many countries across the globe,” she said.

The premier said Great Britain and some European countries have been facing economic crisis while Britain has already announced that they are facing economic crisis.

She added: “Despite the global economic recession, we have been able to make our economy strong and vibrant.”

The Prime Minister once again asked the countrymen particularly the physicians to grow food for them bringing every in of their fallow lands under cultivation so that Bangladesh needs not importing foods.

“We have not only to meet our demand, but also help other countries. So, grow whatever you can in your lands,” she added.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, MP, SWACHIP President Prof Dr M Iqbal Arslan and Secretary General Prof Dr MA Aziz spoke at the function.

Former Health Minister Prof Dr AFM Ruhal Haque, MP, was present on the dais.

The Prime Minister opened the conference hoisting the national flag and releasing balloons and pigeons, the symbol of peace.

She later unveiled the plaque of the SWACHIP’s permanent office.

At the outset of the programme, the theme song of the SWACHIP was played alongside screening a video-documentary titled “Sashthya Sebay Alor Michhil” (A procession of illumination in delivering healthcare services).

Sheikh Hasina said one rumour is being spread that the banks have no money and they cannot provide consumers required money for which many are withdrawing money from the banks to keep those at home.

“Scopes are being created for thieves through keeping money at home. It is the matter of the owners of the money whether they will take their money to thieves or keep those in banks,” she added.

The Prime Minister said her government is the only one in the world that pays loan installment with interest in due time and never defaults whatever situation arises.

Describing various measures taken by her government for overall development of the country and its people, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh has turned around in the last 14 years as they have been working to give the country a better economic footing alongside upgrading the socio-economic condition of the countrymen.

The poverty rate has declined by 20 percent from 40 percent while they have been able to increase the growth in GDP to 8 percent, she said, adding that the economic progress is being slowed down due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

The Prime Minister said they have taken all the required measures to reach healthcare services to doorsteps referring to setting up four medical universities, community clinics, hospitals, upgrading and increasing beds of hospitals across the country, appointing huge numbers of physicians, nurses and technicians for the hospitals and introducing telemedicine services and health call centres.

She said that the community clinics have the capacity of conducting safe delivery and added that 30 types of medicines are given free of cost from the clinics.

The Premier said allowances are being given to pregnant and lactating mothers alongside increasing awareness on how to take care of pregnant mothers and neonatal babies for which the maternal and child mortality rate have declined manifolds.

Sheikh Hasina said the world recognised Bangladesh’s success in the health sector despite limited resources and described the country as a model for the development of the health sector.

The Prime Minister said they have introduced, lactating maternity allowance, setting up community clinics, increasing the beds and manpower of the government hospitals including physicians, nurses and health workers.

She added: “Our health policy is a pro-people one. As a result, the maternal and child mortality rates have declined. Our successes in the health sector are now internationally recognised.”

Sheikh Hasina, also President of the ruling Awami League, said they always want political stability and continuation of the democratic process for which they had peacefully handed over power in 2001.

“This is the only example of handing over power in a peaceful manner in the country’s history,” she said, adding that there is no peaceful change of power except 2001 since 1975 changeover through assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.

The Prime Minister said her government has been trying to bring back a convicted fugitive killer from the USA. “They’re sheltering the killer on the plea that he was sentenced to death in the Bangabandhu killing case,”
she added.

She said she had to wait for 35 years in holding trial of the Bangabandhu killing case for which the Awami League had to come to the power and scrapped the indemnity ordinance that gave amnesty to the Bangabandhu killers.

The Premier thanked the people for voting her party to power and giving the scope to hold the trial of the Bangabandhu killing case.

She said: “There are few killers who evaded the execution of the judgment. One each of them in Canada and USA while two are in Pakistan. One is moving from India to Pakistan and Germany. InshaAllah, we will execute the judgment after bring them back to the country from elsewhere in the world.”

The Prime Minister said an air force officer was kidnapped and inhumanly murdered recently by a gang of drug peddlers when he was collecting information of a drug dealer wanted in 14 criminal cases.

The drug peddler was also killed when his gang members fired gunshots at the law enforcers, she said, adding that some people of Bangladesh are now campaigning in favour of the drug dealer.

The Prime Minister criticised the USA for imposing a ban on some people of Bangladesh, saying, “They are not concerned with the matter (killing of air force officer). Human rights organisations are not concerned with the matter. America is giving sanction, they are not concerned. I am astonished seeing such a world situation”.