September 19, 2021, 4:48 pm
Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the countrymen to obey the ongoing lockdown and health guidelines properly to stop further spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), reassuring all of bringing under vaccination and other required assistances.
“We’ve announced a lockdown … I call upon all to abide by the guidelines of the lockdown properly to protect yourselves and others. Don’t let the coronavirus spread further,” she said in her valedictory speech as the Leader of the House in the 13th session (Budget Session) of the 11th Parliament.
Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury chaired the House.
The prime minister said that the only way to check the spread of the Covid-19 is to wear masks, clean hands and maintain distance in such a way that none can be infected afresh with the lethal virus.
The Leader of the House reiterated her pledge to bring 80 percent of the people under vaccination free of cost as 4.50 million jabs of the US’s Moderna, China’s Sinopharm vaccines have already reached in Dhaka, while the processes of bringing more inoculates are going on as talks with the countries like China, Russia, the USA and Japan are underway.
“We’ll bring more vaccines … we’ll purchase whatever is required and for that, we’ve allocated enough money in the budget. Taka 32,236 crore has been allotted in the budget to this end alongside earmarking Taka 10,000 crore separately which can also be used if required,” she said.
Bangladesh has faced some difficulties regarding the vaccines for time being, when India stopped export of the Covid-19 jabs as it has witnessed a massive surge in the pandemic, she said adding that problem with the vaccines is now over.
The prime minister, however, said the coronavirus situation wouldn’t have worsened in such a way had the people followed her call to celebrate the last Eid-ul-Fitr at their present locations, adding that the virus has spread at the district level due to disobeying the call and it is the reality.
She said that her government has made Covid-19 test free across the country as it spreads in the districts.
Sheikh Hasina, also the president of the Awami League, said that her party and its associate bodies alongside the government have tried their best to stand by the people in their hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The prime minister said that her government has given stimulus packages to various sectors and financial assistance to the people (during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic) to ease their lives and livelihoods alongside keeping the country’s economy moving.
Mentioning that people of every profession and class have got government support, she said, “We’ll again provide assistance with our maximum capacities as the coronavirus surfaces again …we’ll definitely look into the matter so that none can face difficulties in getting food.”
The prime minister said some people are talking about reopening the schools, colleges and universities amid the pandemic, but the parents of the students are opposing it.
She said that the government could not put the life of the students at risk by resuming classes of the educational institutions in the current situation of the pandemic.
The Leader of the House said that the teachers have already been administered with the Covid-19 vaccine, while the students will also be inoculated following the guidelines of World Health Organisation (WHO) and then the educational institutions will be opened.
Sheikh Hasina said that the government has placed a Taka 6,03,681 crore national budget for the current fiscal year amid the pandemic mainly to face the coronavirus and offset the fallout of the country’s economy that has been affected by the pandemic.
Mentioning that giving a budget amid the pandemic is a big challenge when the coronavirus has stalled economies across the globe, the prime minister said that the goal of placing the budget is also to ensure healthcare services to the people’s doorsteps, generate more employment and bring more poor people under the social safety net programme.
She credited the government‘s timely measures to keep running the wheels of the country’s economy, increasing the per capita income to $2227, maintaining the inflation rate at a tolerable level, and the GDP growth, which is the highest among the South Asian countries.
The Leader of the House said that Bangladesh has now become a developing nation as the Awami League is in power for the third straight time.
Noting that her government has formulated a plan up to 2041 to make sure the advancement of Bangladesh towards development and prosperity, she said, “We’ve adopted the Delta Plan-2100 so that the generation after generation can take Bangladesh ahead.”
Referring to the United Nations Sustainable Development Network’s annual Sustainable Development Report, the premier said Bangladesh has successfully implemented the MDGs (millennium development goals).
“Now we’re executing the SDGs properly although facing some difficulties due to the pandemic. Despite the fact, Bangladesh features among the top three countries that have progressed most on the SDG Index score,” she said.
Saying that the Awami Legaue government has always worked for the welfare of the people, Sheikh Hasina mentioned that her government has taken every economic policy giving priority to the deprived people following the footsteps of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to build his “Golden Bangladesh” free from poverty and hunger.
Citing the forecast of possible flood in the country due to ongoing heavy rainfall, the prime minister said that her government has been continuing the dredging of the rivers alongside constructing embankments to face the floods effectively.
In this connection, she said, “We’ve to live with the floods as it comes time and again. But, we’re taking appropriate measures for dredging the rivers and stopping river erosion.”