President M Abdul Hamid on Thursday called upon all concerned for further integrated efforts to build an exploitation-free society by entirely eradicating corruption, terrorism, drugs and militancy from the country.
The President made the call as he addressed the New Year’s (2023) first session of the 11th Jatiya Sangsad (JS) in the evening.
The head of the state termed parliament as the focal point of people’s expectations and said, “People are the source of all power... All public representatives must give priority to the public interests.”
He also asked all to work together with the spirit of Liberation War to build a ‘Sonar Bangla’ which will be free from hunger and poverty envisioned by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
As per the parliamentary practice, the current session is the maiden one of the New Year, where the president addresses the House every year. Subsequently, detailed discussions would take place on his speech with the participation of MPs.
In his speech, the president highlighted the development and success of the government in various fields, including economic development, communication, electricity, agriculture, education, health, rule of law, women empowerment and information technology.
It has been decided to introduce a pension system for the country’s all citizens above 60 years from the financial year 2022-23, the president mentioned
Abdul Hamid praised the prime minister’s strong leadership in implementing various mega projects, including metro rail, the construction of the tunnel under Karnaphuli River and Padma Bridge with government’s own funding, fighting against Covid-19, providing humanitarian aid to the vulnerable Rohingyas and facing climate change affects.
Referring to Bangabandhu’s foreign policy dictum, “Friendship to all, malice towards none”, the president said the government, based on this, is working tirelessly to strengthen diplomatic ties with neighbouring countries, expand trade and labour market under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“The prime minister’s strong leadership in providing humanitarian aid to the vulnerable Rohingya people, empowering women and tackling climate challenges is being acclaimed globally,” he added.
Talking about the impact of the ongoing global economy and politics, the president said the entire world is passing through a difficult time.
He said the present government was able to successfully deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and maintain economic dynamism, but the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has slowed down this ongoing progress.
Chaired by the Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, the president told the House that the GDP growth for the fiscal year 2021-22 stood at 7.25 per cent while per capita national income increased by US$ 233 from the previous fiscal year to US$ 2,824.
“Export earnings increased to $60.97 billion in 2021-22 FY compared to the previous fiscal year and foreign investment increased to $3.44 billion,” he added.
Mentioning the significant contribution of the textile and jute sector to Bangladesh’s economy, he said $1.13 billion have been earned from jute and jute products while $42.61 billion were earned from the ready-made garments (RMG) sector.
Abdul Hamid further said despite the prevailing instability of the global economy, the country’s food security is secured and currently, the amount of the country’s food grain stock stood at over 1.61 million tonnes, which is satisfactory.
It has been decided to introduce a pension system for the country’s all citizens above 60 years from the financial year 2022-23, the president mentioned.
President Hamid also mentioned with due honour the contribution of women especially to world sports brightening the country’s image across the globe due to the adoption of the contemporary and women-friendly programmes of the incumbent government.
On the progress of education, the president said the net enrolment rate of children in primary schools has increased from 90 per cent to 97.42 per cent while the ‘dropout rate’ in primary education has come down to 14.15 per cent from 49 per cent.
Recently, 37,574 assistant teachers have been appointed in government primary schools, which is the highest number in a single order since Independence, the President added.
Hamid also said Bangladesh’s first satellite ‘Bangabandhu Satellite-1’ has been launched into space and the launch of ‘Bangabandhu Satellite-2’ is at its final stage.
Against the backdrop of facing the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, the government has taken various initiatives, including formulation of a master plan, laws, policies and strategies with the aim of transforming ‘Digital Bangladesh’ into ‘Smart Bangladesh’ in 2041.
The president congratulated the prime minister for launching the first metro rail from Uttara to Agargaon aimed at building a strong network of six metro rails as in the fleet of public transport.
A self-sufficient communication network will be developed through six MRTs by 2030 through the time-bound action plan of the government, he mentioned.
In his short speech, President Hamid put emphasis on ensuring a safe, happy, prosperous Bangladesh for the new generation.
At the outset of the speech, the president paid rich tribute to the memory of Bangladesh’s founding father and his martyred family members, freedom fighters, four national leaders and other martyrs, who sacrificed their lives in various democratic movements and struggles of the country.