Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday urged the countrymen to keep up the achievement dedicating Bangladesh’s graduation to a developing nation to them as she was accorded a grand reception for her stewardship for the landmark development.
‘This achievement has been possible as we worked together... it’s the achievement of the people as they are the main strength (for the graduation),’ she told a reception at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka in the morning.
The premier added, ‘I want this achievement to continue and it is not lost in any way.’
Coinciding with the reception she also opened a weeklong countrywide programme to celebrate Bangladesh’s graduation.
The prime minister said the graduation proved again that people of the country could achieve everything they wanted and this achievement would have to be retained so that this journey did not stop.
Economic Relations Division organised the reception with finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith in the chair while United Nations under secretary general Fajita Manual Katua Utau Common spoke on the occasion.
A written message of UNDP administrator Achim Steiner was also read out at the function where ERD secretary Kazi Shafiqul Azam delivered the welcome address.
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, Asian Development Bank president Takehiko Nakao, USAID administrator Mark Green and JICA president Shinichi Kitaoka have sent separate video messages on the occasion.
The prime minister said as a proud nation, Bangladesh wants to move keeping its head high as ‘we liberated the country through struggle and war . . . So why we will lag behind and why we will not stand our own feet and we’ve proved that we can’.
She said whatever achievements the country made belonged to the people as ‘these achievements were not possible, unless we got their response and cooperation and they elect us to power’.
The prime minister said the state power meant to her the opportunity to serve the people and ‘the power is not for me to enjoy luxury and change my own fate’.
Sheikh Hasina said her father, the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, taught her that the politics means changing the lot of the people and ‘we’ve been working with a goal so that the people stay good and this success has been possible due to it’.
At the function, the finance minister handed over the letter of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the United Nations that declared the eligibility of Bangladesh for graduating from the LDCs to the prime minister.
Sheikh Hasina also released a commemorative postage stamp issued by Bangladesh Post Office on the occasion alongside a commemorative currency note of Tk 70 denomination issued by Bangladesh Bank.
Post and Telecommunications minister Mustafa Jabbar and Bangladesh Bank governor Fazley Kabir were present on the occasion.
Later information minister Hasanul Huq Inu, state minister for information Tarana Halim, information secretary Abdul Malek and principal information officer Begum Kamrun Nahar handed over a photo album to the prime minister.
The prime minister said she has been running the state with a vow to change the lot of the people and present a beautiful life to them. ‘So, we have to keep up the development spree initiated during our tenure to achieve the goal,’ she said.
‘We want that Bangladesh will advance further and be established as a hunger and poverty-free Sonar Bangla holding the hand of this achievement,’ she added.
Citing the historic March 7 speech of Mujib, Sheikh Hasina said in his speech, he vowed that none would be able to suppress the Bangalees. ‘It has been proved again through Bangladesh’s graduation to a developing country,’ she said.
The prime minister said the nation had to cross many hurdles to achieve this success. ‘We had to advance being pierced of thorn on the leg,’ she said.
Expressing her gratitude to the almighty Allah for the achievement, Sheikh Hasina said she had to face repeated death attempts on her life, including the August 21 grisly grenade attack. ‘I never scared to death and don’t scare it,’ she said.
Recalling the dark chapter of Bangladesh after the assassination of Sheikh Mujib, the prime minister said she returned home in 1981 amid a hostile environment of the country. ‘At that time, the killers of Bangabandhu and war criminals were allowed by the then government to roam freely, do politics and put on the state power by promulgating infamous indemnity ordinance,’ she said.
‘From that situation, we had started our journey and work for the welfare of the people and now we took the country one step forward,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Sheikh Mujib had a long-cherished aspiration that people of this country would enjoy political freedom along with economic emancipation.
The people of Bangladesh would get square meals, clothes and a better life was his dream, she said, adding that he witnessed the sufferings and deprivation of people of this soil with his own eyes from the British colonial period to the Pakistani era.
‘No other else than Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had better idea about the real condition of the people. So, he struggled all over his life to change the fate of the common people,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina reiterated her government’s determination to build Bangladesh as a middle income country by 2021 and developed one by 2041.
‘We will celebrate the birth centenary of Bangabandhu in 2020 and I have firm belief that we will certainly be able to establish a hunger and poverty-free Sonar Bangla as dreamt by the Father of the Nation by that year,’ she said.
The prime minister elaborated her government’s stunning successes in various fields, including agriculture, economy, education, health, power and poverty alleviation.
A video documentary on the country’s stunning development that took place in different sectors in the last nine years was displayed at the function while another documentary containing the comments of working class people about Bangladesh’s development under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina was screened.
Earlier, the prime minister was greeted with bouquets on behalf of president Abdul Hamid, speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, the chief justice, the leader of the opposition in parliament, the chiefs of three services, the cabinet division, the 14-party, the police, government officials, freedom fighters, educationists, business leaders, journalists, artistes, litterateurs, sportspersons, women organisations, working class people, the people with disabilities, children representatives and NGO representatives.
The UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) on March 15 officially declared the eligibility of Bangladesh for graduating from the LDCs and handed over a formal letter in this regard to Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the UN Masud Bin Momen on the following day.
In an inspirational show of unity and joy, the people from all walks of life on Thursday had a unique opportunity to join gleeful celebrations across the country to become witnesses of Bangladesh’s historic achievement of getting eligibility for graduating to a developing country.
The capital Dhaka and other cities and towns of the country wore festive looks this afternoon as people in hundreds attended jubilant celebrations organized to mark the country’s landmark attainment to come out of the status of the Least Developed Countries (LDC).
Apart from common people, artistes, players, eminent personalities and dignitaries joined the processions with colourful banners and placards in their hands while groups of musicians in their traditional attire performed patriotic songs.
In the capital Dhaka, thousands of people marched in colourful processions towards the Bangabandhu National Stadium to participate in the celebration of the country’s eligibility to graduate to a developing state from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The jubilant processions began simultaneously this afternoon from nine designated points of the capital. These included Bangla Academy, Shilpakala Academy, Matsha Bhaban, Shishu Academy, Duyel Chattar, Suhrawardy Udyan, Engineering Institute, Dhaka University, Ramna Park, Bangladesh Bank Chattar, Shilpa Bhaban Chattar and Nagar Bhaban.
The processions reached the Bangabandhu National Stadium where a colourful cultural show and laser light display were organised as part of the government’s two-day celebration of the country’s achievement.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, her sister Sheikh Rehana, Rehana’s son Radwan Mujib Siddiq Bobby, ministers, premier’s advisers, lawmakers, politicians, business community leaders, senior journalists, educationists, writers, artistes and literatures, senior civil and military officials joined the function.
On the eve of the celebrations, president Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina gave separate message, felicitating the countrymen for their contributions to attain the great honour for the country.
Dhaka University also staged a jubilant rally on the premises of ‘Smriti Chirantan’ monument on the campus this morning to celebrate the country’s great achievement.
University’s vice-chancellor Professor Md Akhtaruzzaman inaugurated the rally releasing balloons and festoons.
An international seminar will be held in the capital city on Friday on the prospect and challenges of the country’s graduation from the LDCs. finance minister AMA Muhith will chair the seminar.
In Chittagong, different educational institutions celebrated the historic achievement through bringing out separate jubilant processions from their respective college campuses this morning.
Identical processions and rallies will also be staged across the country from March 22-28 as ministries will display the government’s achievements in different sectors.
The local administration will also organise photo exhibitions, art competitions, cultural shows, sport events and video shows on development activities.
Tight security measures have been taken in the capital as elsewhere in the country as the home ministry formed a committee to maintain security and safety during the celebrations.
The three criteria are Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, Human Assets Index (HAI) and Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI). According to the UN’s graduation thresholds, GNI per capita of a country should be $1,230 or above.
Bangladesh’s GNI per capita was $1,610 at the end of 2016-17 financial year. For the HAI, a country must score 66 or above and for EVI 32 or below.
Bangladesh scored 72.9 and 24.8 in the two indices respectively while the country will have to maintain the thresholds for the three indices till the country’s final graduation from the LDC category, which the UN will declare in 2024.
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