Awami League's goal is to build a 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041: HPM Sheikh Hasina

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Published on March 14, 2023
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said, "By 2041, the goal of Awami League government is to build a smart Bangladesh."

She made statement this at the 50th anniversary celebration between Bangladesh and Asian Development Bank (ADB) partnership at the ballroom hall of InterContinental Hotel, Dhaka on Tuesday, March 14 in the morning.

The Prime Minister said, "ADB is our development partner. ADB has been working with us for 50 years. In 1973, our association with ADB was established under the leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

In the last 50 years, ADB has special support to our socio-economic development, structural development."

The premier thanked the ADB for supporting Bangladesh in its need, saying the ADB's cooperation has increased three times in the last one and a half decade since Awami League assumed power in 2009.

She added: "We are seeing with pleasure that the ADB always stands beside Bangladesh in our bad time with innovative financing and technological support."

The premier recalled with gratitude that the ADB gave 2.29 billion USD support during the Covid-19 pandemic to deal with health emergencies and 230 million USD to overcome the damages of the flood in Bangladesh's north-western part.

She urged the development partners to focus on giving soft loans till the world economy comes into normalcy overcoming the economic recession steaming from the Russia-Ukraine war.

"It is necessary to continue giving soft loans till the global economy goes back to normalcy. The organizations and the developed countries would have to give special focus on it," she said.

She expressed her grave concern over the trend of increasing interest rate against loans by the development partners even in the global crisis for Russia-Ukraine war, economic sanction and counter sanctions which in most cases make their financing in development projects ineffective.

"We don't want kindness from anyone, rather we want our due rights from the global partners," she said.

The prime minister also expressed her resentment over imposing various unnecessary restrictions by business partners, saying: "It (restrictions) sends our economies in danger".

In the current global context, she urged the IMF to come up with flexible and innovative financing in accelerating skill, health, ICT, infrastructure development, climate change and human resource development.

President of ADB Masatsugu Asakawa, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Economic Relations Division Secretary Sharifa Khan, spoke at the programme.

ADB Country Director to Bangladesh Edimon Ginting gave the concluding speech.

A video documentary on how Bangladesh-ADB relations evolve and how Bangladesh made progress over the 50 years and the recent time was also screened.

She mentioned that the ADB has become one of Bangladesh’s trusted development partners over the last 50 years and extended cooperation in almost all the sectors for Bangladesh's socio-economic and infrastructural advancement.

"Currently, the cumulative contribution of the ADB has reached 28.38 billion USD that makes Bangladesh the 3rd largest recipient in ABD's portfolio," she added.

Bangladesh is now implementing 54 projects with ADB's financial and technical assistance, she said.

Besides, ADB has been extending low-cost financing for the mitigation and adaptation of climate changes, she added.

"We have been able to maintain over 6.5 percent growth rate during this period," Sheikh Hasina said.

She said Bangladesh's development efforts, particularly during the last one and a half decade, have been recognized by the global community.

"We will reach the milestone of a half trillion economy by next year. Bangladesh is currently the 35th largest economy in terms of GDP, and with consistent economic growth we will be the 28th largest economy by 2030 and the 24th largest economy by 2036," she said.