Country making progress against pessimism, PM says

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told parliament on Wednesday that Bangladesh is moving towards progress by dispelling all misconceptions about the future of independent Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh is marching towards development and progress by negating all the misconceptions of the pessimists regarding the future of independent Bangladesh,” she said while responding to a question posed by ruling Awami League lawmaker Momtaz. Begum, from Manikganj-2 constituency.

The Prime Minister said it was a matter of pride that the year of the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence and the celebration of the centenary of the birth of the country’s founding President, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, UNCDP recommended that Bangladesh be graduated from a least developed country to become a developing country by 2026. .

To dispel the misconception about Bangladesh’s advancement in the future, Sheikh Hasina said his government has taken various timely steps to implement plans to deal with global trade challenges after leaving one of the countries. the least advanced.

Explaining the measures in detail, she said: “The government has already initiated the formulation of a strategy and action plan on preferential market access and trade agreement to expand the export market by facing the challenges of global business after graduation”.

The Prime Minister added that Bangladesh has taken initiatives to sign the Preferential Trade Agreement, Free Trade Agreement and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with various commercially important countries.

As a first step, the government has taken a step to sign trade agreements with 10 countries and three alliances on a priority basis, she said, adding that Bangladesh signed a PTA with Bhutan on December 6, 2020.

The 10 countries are India, Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Japan, Singapore, United States, Canada, China and Malaysia, she cited.

In addition, a process is underway to conduct negotiations with Turkey, South Africa, Morocco, Mauritius, Senegal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya and GCC countries on a PTA, FTA or a CEPA, she said.

Referring to the feasibility studies on signing the trade agreement with different countries, the Prime Minister hoped that the study, which is currently being jointly conducted by Bangladesh and India for signing, will be completed soon.

She added that an initiative has also been taken to sign an FTA with China to expand bilateral trade and a joint feasibility study under a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries.

Sheikh Hasina has continued the process of signing an FTA with Sri Lanka, which could be signed in March 2022, and the desired progress has also been made to sign a PTA or FTA with Nepal and Indonesia, a- she added.

She said the proposal to anchor the PTA/FTA/CEPA with the Maldives has been sent, while an initiative has been taken to form a working group between Bangladesh and Singapore to sign a bilateral FTA.

In addition, initiatives have been taken to conclude FTAs ​​with Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya and Sierra Leone, while feasibility studies have been completed to sign FTAs ​​with the United States and Japan, a- she added.

The Prime Minister said that Bangladesh has also played an important role in the effectiveness of APTA, TPS-OIC and D-8 preferential agreement.

Thanks to Bangladesh’s successful diplomatic efforts, she said, LDCs, including Bangladesh, had been able to obtain a number of facilities, including the extension of pharmaceutical patent exemption until 2033 under trade-related intellectual property. And the blanket exemption has been relaxed for LDCs for 13 years from 2021 and so the special facility will remain until July 1, 2034, she added.

On the other hand, the government is determined to build a secure and integrated communication network in the country, the prime minister said, answering another question from AL MP Didarul Alam (Chattogram-4).

She said the government has implemented a good number of projects to develop a sustainable communication system suitable for the public in a planned manner over the past decade to ensure the safe journey of common passengers across the country. , including Dhaka.

“The government is committed to relieving traffic congestion, providing comfortable public transport, increasing road discipline and safety, safe and risk-free roads, and developing an integrated multimedia communication network by keeping the consistency of the existing system and how the situation will change with future development,” she said.

The Prime Minister mentioned the efforts and successes of his government in improving the road communication system.

In response to another ruling party MP, Nur Uddin Chowdhury Nayan (Lakshmipur-2), the prime minister said the government had a plan to set up burn units in all district hospitals to extend treatment services to burn patients.

She said the world’s largest burns institute was established in Dhaka at the initiative of the current government and the 500-bed Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Plastic and Burns Surgery with modern facilities is continuing its activities. activities.

There is a 300-bed burn unit with Dhaka Medical College Hospital to provide treatment services to burn patients, she said, adding that there are burn units in 13 institutes and hospitals. medical universities in the country.

Sheikh Hasina said that ECNEC on December 1, 2021 approved a project titled ‘Establishment of Burn Surgery and Plastic Surgery Unit in 5 Medical University Hospitals’ to set up modern burn units in the medical university hospitals of Sylhet, Barishal, Rangpur, Rajshahi and Faridpur with the assistance of the Saudi Fund for Development. There will be full 100-bed burn units in the five hospitals.

In addition, step has been taken to establish modern burn units at Khulna and Mymensingh, while the process of setting up a modern burn unit at Chattogram Medical College Hospital continues, it said. she declared.

Sheikh Hasina said considering the pandemic situation like other countries in the world, the government is providing the booster dose of Covid vaccines.

“As per the recommendation of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group, Bangladesh, and the approval of the National Committee on the Implementation of the Covid Immunization Programme, booster doses of Covid vaccines are being provided nationwide from of December 28, 2021,” she said. .

The Prime Minister made the statement while responding to a question posed by Treasury Bank Legislator Ahsanul Islam (Titu) of Tangail-6 Constituency in Jatiya Sangsad.

Sheikh Hasina said a total of 7,41,265 people had already received the booster dose of Covid vaccines till January 17 this year.

She informed the House that around 14.62 crore people have already received the Covid vaccines while over 8.91 crore have received the first dose of coronavirus vaccines and over 5.70 crore have received the second dose of vaccines.

Prioritizing free vaccines at the start of the outbreak of the deadly virus to stem its spread, the government took the initiative to collect the vaccine even before its invention and approval, the prime minister said.

As a result, the Covid vaccination program started on January 7, 2021 and continues to this day, Sheikh Hasina added.

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