825Published on May 26, 2021
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina mentioned recently in a meeting that "We have to move forward with our economic activities, maintaining health protocols. Hopefully, we will establish a hunger, poverty, illiteracy-free, and secular Golden Bengalas dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. She has praised Bangladesh's socio-economic performance, as the country managed to register 5.24% GDP growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.When many developed and developing countries are struggling with negative growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic". She said the country's remittance inflow, agricultural production, and exports have made a turnaround, as its foreign currency reserve exceeded $41 billion.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 an integrated control room was opened at the Directorate of Health Services on January 26, 2020, to speed up the country's overall medical system to deal with COVID-19. To ensure better effective medical services, 4,000 new doctors, 5,054 nurses, 1,200 medical technologists, 1,650 medical technicians,and thousands of health workers were recruited under the direction of the Prime Minister. In addition, 4218 doctors have been added to the hotline as volunteers to provide information and services on COVID-19 infection. A 48-member national committee was formed under the leadership of the Health Minister and an 18-member expert team was formed under the leadership of the president, Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council. The number of COVID-19 dedicated Hospitals in the country has been increased to 157 with about 12500 general beds in addition to about 1100 ICU beds. Of particular note is the recent launch of the 1,000-bed DNCC COVID Hospital, which has made COVID co-operation more dynamic.
The Prime Minister has directed to help in the relief work by listing so that there is no corruption or mismanagement and no day laborers, workers, and farmers go hungry. According to the Department of Disaster Management, in the last and current fiscal year 2020-21, 64 Deputy Commissioners, 327 municipalities, and city corporations were given cash and cash was distributed among the victims of natural disasters. Cash has also been provided for the purchase of baby food. Non-MPO teachers-staff under the Department of Technical, Secondary and Higher Education, teachers-staff of madrasas received financial assistance. Apart from this, money has also been provided to the orphans and destitute. Financial assistance has also been provided to other artists and artisans, including unemployed poverty-stricken and distressed artists associated with Bangladeshi films, Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar. Besides, in the face of the second wave of the COVID-19pandemic.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is being lauded in the international arena for taking various steps to ensure human health protection to save lives from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the article titled Leadership Strategy published on 22 April 2020, the influential US Forbes Magazine lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with some world leaders for taking action against COVID. Following this, the World Economic Forum also praised the role of the Prime Minister. On the eve of International Women's Day this year, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland QC named the Prime Minister as one of the world's top three inspiring women leaders. In addition, the Country Director of the Asian Development Bank paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on February 23 and praised her for COVID-19 management and vaccination activities, and pledged 940 million in financial assistance to the sector.
In particular, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanam Gabrieus praised the steps taken by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to tackle the COVID-19 on May 4. It is not possible to elaborate on all the steps taken by the Prime Minister to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and at the same time keep the economy afloat. Undoubtedly, however, Bangladesh is in a much better position than many other countries in the world in terms of COVID-19 adaptation and sustaining economic growth.
Even during the COVID-19 period, the implementation of the Padma Bridge, Metrorail project, and other mega projects did not stop. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has always moved forward with morale and prudence in facing difficult challenges. We firmly believe that under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh will go a long way in overcoming the COVID-19 Pandemic and advancing indomitable development.
The Prime Minister reassured the people that she would arrange ticks for the people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sheikh Hasina has taken all measures for the people of the country in her far-reaching action plan. When many people in developed countries could not start vaccination activities, the vaccine came to Bangladesh through the tireless efforts of the Prime Minister; This is an unimaginable success. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the Bangladesh government has been implementing the WHO-directed measures against the pandemic and has so far dealt with the pandemic very well. At the same time, it is trying to keep the economic wheel in motion. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the distribution of money through mobile banking among 3.7 million affected families. Direct financial assistance to the indigent is another landmark step. In addition, if someone calls 333, you will get relief assistance. According to the department, many people have already received relief assistance by calling 333. The Prime Minister has provided Tk 5 crore on behalf of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Trust to help the affected people. Besides, he has given Tk 5 crore to the landless and homeless people for the purchase of land for the construction of houses.
The Prime Minister has been giving these instructions to keep the agricultural activities fast and not to leave even an inch of land suitable for production uncultivated. The administration and law enforcement agencies have been working to follow the hygiene rules of the workers so that those who go to cut paddy in the situation do not have any difficulty in moving. More than 1,800 combine harvesters, 600 reapers, and 215 rice trans-planters across the country, including the Haor region, for the fastest harvest of the Boro crop at a subsidized price of 60 to 70 percent, a new dimension to reduce production costs and farmers' hardships. In addition, 61,259 tons of paddy seeds have been distributed through BADC at a reduced price among about 72 lakh beneficiaries.
She has allocated Tk 1,27,441 crore in 23 incentive packages for economic recovery and social security in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Beneficiaries of these incentive packages are mainly affected industries and service sectors, agriculture, small and medium enterprises, export-oriented industries, various projects including housing for the homeless. Another feature of the Prime Minister's prudence is the inclusion of the disadvantaged among the various beneficiaries, especially the working class who have become temporarily unemployed. Activities have been taken to provide humanitarian assistance to all the distressed people including floating people, persons with disabilities, widows, and workers.
A study of the World Economic Forum has identified the global economic downturn as a business risk for the next two years. The interconnectedness of the current economic system makes it almost impossible for a single country to thrive. For the first time in the history of the country, the country's foreign exchange reserves have reached. 45.10 billion, which will cover the cost of imports for the next 12 months. In addition, in April 2021, Bangladesh's export income increased by 503 percent compared to April last year, that is, in the same period last year, the export income was only 52 million dollars, in April this year it has increased to 313 million dollars. According to the World Economic Outlook published by the International Monetary Fund on October 13, 2020, Bangladesh will be one of the top three countries in the world in terms of GDP growth this year. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, despite the prevalence of COVID, Bangladesh's economic growth in the last fiscal year (2019-20) has been 5.24% and is expected to reach 7.1% this year. This has been possible due to the prudent leadership and far-sighted planning of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The writer is a Research Fellow, BNNRC
Source: The Asian Age