Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said Bangladesh’s graduation from the group of the least developed countries (LDCs) to a developing nation stemmed from her government’s relentless efforts, planning and hard work for the last 12 years.
She gave credits for the feat to the people of the country by saying that the coordinated efforts of all have made the milestone achievement possible.
The prime minister also congratulated the citizens at home and abroad, her government, government officials, employees, and also leaders, activists and supporters of her party -- Bangladesh Awami League.
“The people of the country did all these things. Remaining there in the government, we just gave policy support to create the scope,” she said in her written speech at a virtual press conference marking the UN’s final recommendation for Bangladesh’s graduation from the LDC group.
The press gathering was organised at the Shapla Hall of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and she joined it from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Replying to a question about a report aired by Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “Conspirators and anti-socials will remain active always and we will continue our development efforts with a view to reaching our goals within the stipulated time.
In her written speech, Sheikh Hasina hailed the emergence of Bangladesh as a developing nation as a 'historic achievement' by saying that the country has achieved the success at a time when the nation is gearing up to mark the 50th year of its independence and the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
She expressed his conviction that Bangladesh would get its place as a dignified country on the world stage following its graduation to a developing nation.
“Father of the Nation Bangabandhu had turned Bangladesh into a least developed country pulling the war-ravaged country in just three and a half years. And Bangladesh Awami League, a party founded at the hand of the great leader, established the country as a developing nation in this golden jubilee of independence,” she said.
Being the daughter of the Father of the Nation, Hasina said she feels proud of the achievement as she herself remained engaged in the process of development strides.
“UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) reviews the issue of a country’s graduation from LDC based on income per capita, human assets, and economic and environmental vulnerability,” she said.
In continuation of Bangladesh’s fulfilment of the criteria in the first triennial review meeting of the CDP in 2018, the prime minister said Bangladesh met all the three criteria for graduation from LDC status to a developing nation.
According to the UN, a country is eligible for graduation from the LDC category if it has a $1,230 gross national income (GNI) per capita or above for three years, a Human Assets Index (HAI) of 66 or above, and an Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI) of 32 or below.
Bangladesh continues to fulfil the three conditions with its GNI per capita being $ 1,827 in 2020. The HAI is 75.3 and the EVI 25.2.
Highlighting various economic indexes, the prime minister said Bangladesh’s GDP now rose to 330.2 billion US dollars, and export income to 40.54 billion dollars, while foreign reserves already reached 44.03 billion dollars.
Besides, Bangladesh has already been self-sufficient in food, fish, egg, meat, and vegetable production, while it is the third in the world in terms of paddy production, she added.
In this regard, she mentioned that today’s Bangladesh is not as it was an era ago.
The prime minister said, 99 percent people have been brought under electricity coverage, digital services have been expanded up to marginalised people in villages, and a revolutionary change has taken place in the ICT sector through Bangabandhu satellite.
“Considering all these achievements, Bangladesh is now a changed country in the world,” she said.
Talking about the corona pandemic, Sheikh Hasina said 2020 was a critical year not only for Bangladesh, but also for the entire world due to Covid-19 outbreak.
She mentioned that the government has been able to keep the national economy moving by taking various steps like giving financial assistance and stimulus packages to affected groups.
The prime minister said the vaccination drive has already begun across the country with a total of 28, 50, 940 people getting vaccinated as of Thursday last.
Laying emphasis on keeping up the successes, she said the country needs to make the achievement on graduation of the country from the LDC to a developing one more sustainable and consolidated.
Sheikh Hasina narrated that various strategies have been incorporated in the long-term perspective plan alongside taking the 8th Five Year Plan.
She referred to the ongoing mega projects like Padma Bridge, metro rail, Karnaphuli Tunnel and Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and said some of them are expected to be launched this year or early next year.
She added the country’s economy will get further momentum once the construction work on 100 special economic zones and over two dozens of high-tech parks and IT villages are completed.
The prime minister expressed her firm optimism that Bangladesh would soon be established as a developed, prosperous and dignified country on the world stage if the pace of the development continues.
The prime minister’s younger sister Sheikh Rehana was also present at the press conference from the Ganabhaban side.
Earlier, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal handed over the UN recommendation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Ganabhaban.