SPB.N NEWS – Online Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged all to extend their cooperation to maintain the present pace of development to turn Bangladesh into a middle income digital country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041..

“I seek cooperation from all irrespective of party affiliation and opinions to maintain the current pace of development that the government has been able to input. Don’t let the pace stop… let it roll on all the time,” she said.

The Prime Minister was inaugurating the countrywide three-day Development Fair-2017 through videoconferencing from her official residence Ganobhaban.

The fair is being held in all 64 districts and 490 upazilas across the country on January 9-11.

The time of the fair was chosen commemorating the Homecoming Day of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and it was dedicated to his memory.

The fair aims to bring people under the government’s uplift activities by telling success stories to achieve the Vision 2021 and Vision 2041 as well as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The theme of the fair is “Unnayoner Ganatantra, Sheikh Hasina’s Mool Mantra” (Democracy for Development is the Key Motto of Sheikh Hasina)

Terming terrorism and militancy as impediments to development, the Prime Minister urged people of all professions and classes to create awareness against this social menace. “The development activities could have been expedited further had there been no militancy and terrorism in the society,” she said.

She said with the cooperation from all, it will be possible to make the country a developed one very soon. “I want people to think that we’ll stand on our own feet… we’ll be dignified, we’ll live with honour,” she added.

She said Bangladesh had never witnessed such development done in the last eight years.

Hasina said the aim of the fair is to make people familiar with the government initiatives for the socio-economic development and involve local people in the endevours to expedite the existing development strides. “I hope people will learn and understand the government initiatives taken for their welfare.”

She also said the fair will help materialise the programmes that were taken to attain SDGs by 2030.

The Prime Minister said through these fairs, every district and upazila could project their own history, cultural heritage and other traditions.

She hoped that Bangladesh missions abroad will arrange similar fairs to project the development strides of the government to expatriate Bangladeshis as well as the development partners.

She said the government is establishing 100 economic zones across the country to create employment opportunities through planned industrialisation and steps are being taken to attract local and foreign investments.

Noting that Bangladesh has already earned food autarky, Hasina underscored the need for stopping the misuse of agricultural land through restricting the establishment of industry here and there to ensure food for all.

Besides, she said, different types of industries could be set up based on locally available raw materials which would help local producers.

She also stressed the importance of proper marketing of various agro items that are being produced in different areas of the country so that the interest of the farmers could be preserved.

Highlighting government’s various steps to alleviate poverty, the Prime Minister said poverty rate has been slashed down to 22 percent and 5 crore people were graduated to middle income group from the lower income one.

She said the government has introduced micro-saving schemes instead of microcredit to save the marginal income group people.

Under the scheme, the government is providing equal amount of money to his or her accounts as much he or she saves and to handle the saving issues the Rural Saving Bank has been established, she added.

Hasina also termed digital Bangladesh now a reality.

Later, the Prime Minister talked to local administration and people of different classes and professions of Tangail, Barisal, Khulna and Gopalganj districts through videoconferencing.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Engineer Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, PM’s Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman, International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak were present on the occasion.

PM’s Principal Coordinator on SDGs Md Abul Kalam Azad, PMO Secretary Suraiya Begum and Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim were also present at the function moderated by PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury.

At the outset of the function, Md Abdul Halim, the director general of the Governance Innovation Unit of the Prime Minister’s Office, made a PowerPoint presentation on the development activities while an audio-video presentation on the uplift was also made.

Various government and non-government organisations, banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions are taking part in the fair while seminars, symposiums, screening of documentaries, photograph and poster exhibition, and cultural programmes have been arranged.