Take effective steps to get maximum benefit after LDC graduation: PM

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked all concerned to take effective steps for availing maximum benefits and facilities after the country’s graduation from the LDCs in 2026 and also to devise strategies to face the challenges following the graduation.

She gave the directive while chairing the 2nd meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) of the present government and also the 8th ECNEC meeting in the current fiscal year (FY24) held at the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area today.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Division Senior Secretary Satyajit Karmakar said that the Prime Minister asked all concerned to take necessary steps to avail the facilities and benefits after the LDC graduation and also take necessary preparations for facing the challenges.

“There is no problem in coordination on behalf of the government regarding graduation from the LDCs. This is not the responsibility of a ministry alone, rather it is a cross cutting issue. LDC graduation has certain potentials and challenges,” he added.

Planning Minister Major General (Retd) Md Abdus Salam and State Minister for Planning Md Shahiduzzaman Sarker spoke at the briefing. Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present.

The Planning Minister informed that the day’s meeting approved a total of 11 projects involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 8,425.51 crore. “Of the total project cost, Taka 7,939.87 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh while the rest Taka 485.64 crore as project assistance,”

Revealing some of the directives from the Premier in the meeting, the Planning Secretary said the Premier, while giving approval to the Taka 166-crore project for constructing Bangladesh Chancery Complex and Residential Building at Cairo in Egypt, directed to keep necessary rest rooms in the design to facilitate the expatriate Bangladeshis as well as to keep sufficient number of booths to provide services to the expatriates with ease and comfort.

Referring to the approval of Taka 2,500-crore project for the rural infrastructural development in the districts of greater Rangpur region, the Prime Minister put emphasis on taking necessary steps to prevent river erosion in Kurigram and also to consider the issue of flooding while constructing roads and bridges there.

Commenting on the Taka 3,059 crore project for building Union Parishad Complex (3rd phase) across the country, Satyajit said that the Prime Minister directed the authorities concerned to complete the construction of the rest of the Union Parishad complexes across the country in a speedy manner.

In this regard, she suggested for incorporating a provision for preserving rain water in the Union Parishad complex in the coastal areas as well as keeping solar systems.

The Planning Secretary said the Prime Minister had sat with the high ups of those projects which are nearing completion to know about the latest status of their schemes.

In this regard, the Prime Minister asked the Planning Commission to ensure necessary allocation for those projects so that those could be completed in a speedy manner. Subsequently, the Planning Commission assured of providing necessary allocation against those projects.

Regarding the approval of Taka 115 crore project for establishment of Bangladesh Handloom Board Complex, Mirpur, the Prime Minister directed the authorities concerned to prioritize the womenfolk in imparting training there.

Answering to a question, the Planning Minister said although the government does not want delay in project implementation, such delay sometimes happen due to complexities in land acquisition and hike in dollar price.

“Development projects are being approved after scrutiny,” he added.

Replying to another question on the implementation of the Prime Minister’s directives in the ECNEC meeting, the Planning Minister said such directives are being implemented accordingly.

The Planning Division Senior Secretary also informed that the day’s ECNEC meeting was apprised about the approval of 30 small projects already approved by the Planning Ministry.

The other projects approved in the meeting are: Procurement of 20 meter gauge diesel electronic locomotives and 150 meter gauge passenger carriages (1st revised) with an additional cost of Taka 288.07 crore, Upgrading the Kashinathpur-Dashuria-Natore-Rajshahi-Nababganj-Kansat-Sonamasjid-Baliadighi Border national highway into due standard and width with Taka 481.89 crore, Infrastructural development project (1st phase) for enhancing capacity of the government fisheries farms and boosting their fisheries production with Taka 371.32 crore, Improvement of Fish Landing Centre of Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation in Cox’s Bazar District with Taka 232.83 crore, Promoting Resilience for Vulnerable Through Access to Infrastructure, Improved Skills, and Information (Provati, 1st revised) with an additional cost of Taka 166.83 crore, and Establishment of full-fledged cancer, heart and kidney treatment centers in eight divisional cities, 1st revised with an additional cost of Taka 1,044.60 crore.

Without raising any cost, the meeting also extended the timeframe of the project till June, 2024 for shifting, construction and modernization of Bangladesh Betar, Shahbagh Complex, to Agargaon, Dhaka, 1st phase, 3rd revised.

Ministers and state ministers attended the meeting while Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present.