DHAKA, April 11, 2022 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged the countrymen to ensure maximum usage of land to produce food to maintain self-sufficiency against the backdrop of the global crisis over the Ukraine conflict.
“After two waves of Covid-19 pandemic, now the Russia-Ukraine war may expose the world to another crisis,” premier’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim quoted her as saying at a meeting of PMO officials at her office.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh need to prepare itself for any such crisis, developing its own arrangement to evade any possible food crisis and “that is why no inch of land should be left uncultivated”.
“We have to produce (food) whatever we can,” she said during the meeting, which Karim said lasted for nearly three and half hours.
The premier said all citizens of the country should produce something whatever land they possessed to meet their own food demands and help the country remain self-reliant in food production.
“We all should remain alert so that the country is not faced with any hardship due to the world crisis,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina asked all concerned to disseminate her message that “no inch of land would remain uncultivated”.
The premier’s economic affairs adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman, energy affairs adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, private Industry and investment adviser Salman F Rahman, ambassador-at-large Mohammad Ziauddin, principal coordinator of SDG affairs Zuena Aziz and the press secretary, among others, also spoke at the meeting.
The premier’s principal secretary Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus conducted the meeting, while PMO’s senior secretary Md. Tofazzel Hossain Miah made a presentation on her activities in the last three years.
Talking about the price spiral, the Prime Minister said that it has happened in the whole world and that also impacted on Bangladesh.
“What we can do now, we have to encourage the people not to left behind one inch of arable land,” she said, adding that “It means we have to be self-sufficient in food production for all time.”
In this connection, she said that at the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic she apprehended that the world might face a food crisis.
“That is why from that time I encouraged people to utilise their every inch of arable land,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said she apprehended that there might be another blow coming for the whole world combining Coronavirus and Russia-Ukraine war. “So we have to take care of ourselves (in food production),” she said.
But, she noted that the problem for Bangladesh is the items that imported from international market. In this connection she mentioned about LNG and fuel oil.
She asked the officials to think about the outcomes of the price hike of these items and take appropriate measurers regarding the matter.
“We have to find out the alternatives of these right now to secure the livelihoods of the people of the country,” she said.
She asked the officials to maintain austerity like the coronavirus pandemic period to face the unknown future after the war.
“There will be so many problems after the war, we have to be cautious to avert that and avoid pressure on our (foreign) reserve and make us dependent on others,” she added.
The Prime Minister said that every village of the country has to be developed and create employment in there like a way the people can run their live and livelihoods sitting in that village.
She put emphasis on encouraging the youth folks of the country so that they could deploy themselves in self employment.
“We have to build up them to make them entrepreneurs using their creativity and talents,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina, daughter of father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, said that she thinks that getting chance to be in the power is a scope to serve the people.
“My all time aim is to change the fate of the people of the country. We have to bring positive changes for the grassroots level people of the country. By this country will advance further,” she said.
Talking about the Vision 2041 she said that this is a structure and it can be changed time to time if needed. “By this process the country will be advanced,” she said.
The Prime Minister said that the Ashrayan Project will help the country a lot to make it free from poverty and hunger.
Sheikh Hasina, also the chief of the ruling party, said that Awami League is the only one political party that comes from the land and people of the country. “For that reason all our thinking always center for the country and its people,” she said.
Regarding the developing country status she said this create immense scopes for Bangladesh with some hurdles. “We are holding meetings regularly to face and remove those hurdles,” she said.
Turning to the criticism by a section, she said “I do not run the state reading write ups in the newspapers, that is the reality. They can confuse the people.”
She mentioned that the propaganda is being spread saying that Bangladesh will face the similar situation of Sri Lanka. “It’s true we are taking support for development but Bangladesh is the only country which is not defaulter.”
She said that Bangladesh has made repayment to all loan even during the COVID-19 pandemic. So it didn’t become defaulter, she added.
The Prime Minister said, “We are taking various assistance for development that is correct, but we are not loan defaulter as even during the COVID-19 pandemic we have made repayment of our loans. Bangladesh is the only country that made repayment all loans in due time.”
She said that Bangladesh takes various development programmes and before taking that the government does its calculation.
“From where we take how much loan, from the development we are doing how much we will be benefitted, what will be the return of this development, how much will it be beneficial for the people, how much the economy will be stronger by this, we are always very much cautious about the return. We do not take any plan that will not yield any benefit after implementation,” she said.
About foreign investments, Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh will welcome that investment which will be beneficial for the country.
“We do not accept any investment just for showing investments are coming.”
She said that she is not in power just for making her own fate.
“I never think of getting commission from any project. All have to remember that.”
The Prime Minister said that the way investment pouring in Bangladesh all have to take every step with utmost cautiously.
“We will take investment after satisfying that this investment will be beneficial for Bangladesh. We will not accept that investment which will be not good for the country and its people,” she said.
She said that world often change with the change of technology and other things.
The Prime Minister, however, expressed her frustration for not having a strong opposition in the country as the two opposition parties of the country created by military rules and they do not have deep rooted positions among the mass people.
“We are not getting strong opposition. They do not have their position among the people of the country. They have come with surface level attitude and could not put their roots among the people,” she said.
Regarding the present opposition parties, she said both are created by the military dictators who grabbed the state power defying the Constitution.
“They do not have any interest for the country and its people,” she added.
She continued that in developed countries anyone can see only two parties are there.
“Most of the cases there is no other party except two parties. There is reluctance seen in the other parties in participating in elections. Same thing is happening in our countries also,” she said.
She mentioned that when the western world talks about democracy and participatory elections, what will be done in Bangladesh.
“They do not think about it (as the opposition parties in Bangladesh do not have strong support from the mass people),” she said.