Front-line workers will get priority for vaccine shots, the prime minister says in her address to the nation
The government is trying its best to bring Covid-19 vaccines to the country as soon as possible, and front-line workers will be the first to get the shots, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said.
“The government is trying its best to bring Covid-19 vaccine to Bangladesh. Once the vaccine is here, it will be provided to the doctors, health workers, law enforcement members and other front-liners on a priority basis,” she said while addressing the nation on Thursday evening.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed the nation on the second anniversary of the incumbent government. The 30-minute speech, which began at 7:30pm, was broadcast on Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar, as well as private TV channels and radio stations.
Speaking to the country, the prime minister said: “By the mercy of Almighty, the infection and death rate for Covid-19 is still very low in Bangladesh. We are trying our best to control this pandemic.”
She expressed gratitude to all those who worked amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the front-liners, including doctors, health workers, law enforcement officials, armed forces and members of the field administration, for their courage in tackling this epidemic,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina, who is also the president of the ruling Awami League, thanked her party workers for their effort during this pandemic.
“After the spread of coronavirus, people of various classes and professions, including leaders and activists of Bangladesh Awami League, Chhatra League and other associate organizations, came forward to help the poor and helpless people. I sincerely thank everyone.”
She also thanked her countrymen for putting their faith in her leadership during this pandemic.
“At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, I was hopeful that with the help of our countrymen, we would be able to deal with this disaster successfully, InshaAllah. I am very happy that the people of the country stood by me and my government during this difficult time. You have given us full cooperation in dealing with this disaster. I am hopeful that you will be by my side in the future to deal with any such situation,” she added.
Sheikh Hasina formed the government for the third consecutive term after her party Awami League's landslide victory in the 11th parliamentary polls held on December 30, 2018.
The incumbent government completed its two years and stepped into the third year as the new cabinet was formed on January 7, 2019.
March towards progress
“Since we took charge of the country in 2009, over the last 12 years of the Awami League government, Bangladesh has made remarkable development in the socio-economic and infrastructure sectors,” the prime minister said during her speech. “According to the World Economic Forum, Bangladesh will be the 26th largest economy in the world by 2030.”
She said Bangladesh would become an upper-middle-income country by 2031 and a high-income, prosperous and dignified country by 2041. Bangladesh graduated as a developing country before 2021, she was quoted by UNB as saying.
The prime minister said she believed that it was the government’s duty and responsibility to improve the living standard of the country's citizens."It is up to you to evaluate what we have done for the people in the last 12 years," she added.
"Despite of coronavirus pandemic, our economy is moving in the right direction," the prime minister said, highlighting the progress of different mega projects.
Noting that 82% work of Padma Bridge had been completed, she said she it would hopefully be possible to open the bridge for public use next year.
She said the works of other mega projects, such as Dhaka metro rail, Rooppur Nuclear power plant, and Bangabandhu tunnel, were going on in full swing as well.
Rail tracks have been installed in the 14km Uttara-Agargaon portion of the metro rail project, and trains for the route will come soon from Japan, she said.
She further mentioned that 80% of the 1,200MW first unit of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the country's biggest project involving Tk113,000 crore, had already been completed.
It will be possible to supply electricity from the unit within the stipulated time of April 2023, she added.
Lighting the nation
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government had added some 19,000MW to the national grid since 2009, and now the daily power generation capacity stands at 24,421MW.
Some 99% people of the country now enjoy electricity facilities, which was only 47% in 2005-06 fiscal year, she said, adding that the entire population would come under the electricity coverage during the Mujib Year and the golden jubilee of the country's independence.
Mentioning that Bangladesh is now a self-sufficient country in food production, she said the country had become the world's third-largest rice-producer and the second-largest inland water fish producer.
Golden jubilee celebration depends on virus situation
Sheikh Hasina said the golden jubilee of independence will be celebrated on a large scale if the coronavirus situation improves by that time.
The coronavirus outbreak forced the government to call off large-scale 'Mujib Borsho' programs to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It also had to scale down or cancel various other programs in face of the growing pandemic.
In her speech, the prime minister urged the people of the country to take a fresh vow to build Bangladesh as a poverty-hunger-illiteracy-free, non-communal welfare country, as dreamt by the Father of the Nation, upholding the spirit and ideology of the Liberation War.
No tolerance for corruption, militancy
The prime minister said some unscrupulous people were always making efforts to misappropriate the wealth of the people, using various underhand tactics, UNB reported.
Noting that her government had taken a strong stand against corruption, she said: "The corrupt people are not being spared, and they will not be spared in the future, irrespective of their political affiliation or how powerful they are."
She said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had been performing its duty independently in this regard.
The prime minister said her government had successfully tackled the rise of militancy with iron hands.
Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony, she mentioned. “People of all religion and castes have been living here maintaining mutual tolerance, and will do so in the future as well."
The prime minister urged her countrymen to remain vigilant so that the existing pace of the country's development is not hampered.
'Take effective steps to resolve Rohingya crisis'
The prime minister urged the international community to take more effective measures over the repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar's Rakhine state.
She said the government continues all efforts to send back some 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas peacefully to their homeland.
Bangladesh constructed high-quality houses in Bhashan Char for 100,000 Rohingyas to ease their sufferings in Cox's Bazar camps. Only the Rohingya refugees who are willing to live there are being relocated, she added.