Govt trying to reopen some sectors gradually: PM

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Dhaka, May 10:Mentioning that people are suffering a lot due to the COVID-19 shutdown, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said the government is trying to reopen some sectors gradually so that the poor can earn their livelihoods.

“We’re trying to reopen some (sectors) gradually. We’re taking measures so that people can earn some livelihoods because this is the month of holy Ramadan,” she said while receiving donations for her relief and welfare fund.

Over 55 government agencies, public and private organisations, and educational institutions on Sunday provided donations to the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund to help the poor affected by COVID-19 fallout.

The Prime Minister said, “We know people are suffering a lot. We’ve been trying our best to reach them food at their doorsteps.”

Since the paddy (of this season) has almost been harvested, people are not supposed to suffer that much (from food shortage), she said calling upon farmers who harvested huge paddy to stand beside the poor at this crisis period.

Noting that the country’s economy has badly been affected by COVID-19 pandemic, Hasina said the people who were dependent on day labour have lost their work.

“Many people have become jobless in our country. It’s difficult for them to make a living, though we’ve been trying our best to help them,” Hasina said.

Referring to huge rice production this season, the Prime Minister said there is no scarcity of food and the government has been distributing rice massively in the country.

She thanked the activists of Awami League and its associate bodies – Bangladesh Chhatra League, Jubo League, Krishak League and Swechchasebok League— for joining farmers in harvesting their paddy.

Hasina said the sign of possible worldwide famine caused by coronavirus outbreak is now visible. “So, the government has paid a special attention to ensuring food security at least for the people of the country at this tough time.”

She reiterated her call to people not to keep an inch of land uncultivated.

The Prime Minister said she has already asked the Agricultural Minister to take measures for the continuation of production of different types of crops and vegetables on different lands across the country in a bid to ensure food security so that famine can never be seen in Bangladesh and the country can help others, if necessary.

Talking about poverty reduction, she said the government has gained massive success in alleviating poverty. It had been expected that Bangladesh would be poverty-free country during the celebration of Mujib Borsha and the golden jubilee of the country’s independence in 2021, she said.

But coronavirus has caused a big blow to and hindered it (the progress in poverty reduction), Hasina said expressing the hope that Bangladesh will go forward overcoming this obstacle as well in the future.

Sometimes people indulge in inhumane behaviour with even family members after getting much scared and that is not a good act indeed, she said suggesting all to remain morally strong and follow the WHO guidelines to protect them from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister extended her sincere thanks to those who came forward with donations to her relief and welfare fund for providing relief materials among the poor.

The Prime Minister received the donations through videoconferencing from her official residence Ganobhaban in the morning.

Representatives of the organisations handed over cheques of donations to PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Communist Party of China provided 50,000 surgical masks for the fund.

The rest 55 organisations and institutions that provided donations include the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education; Secondary and Higher Education Division; Technical and Madrasah Education Division; Jahangirnagar University; Shahjalal University of Science and Technology; Khulna University; Khulna Agricultural University; Cumilla University; Bangamata Sheikh Fojilatunnesa Mujib Science & Technology University (Jamalpur); Sheikh Hasina University, Netrakona; Pabna University of Science & Technology; Islamic University, Kushtia; Dhaka University of Engineering & Technology; North South University; Noakhali Science and Technology University; Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Sciences University; and Willes Little Flower School and College.

The organisations also include the Ministry of Commerce; the Ministry of Agriculture; the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs; the Ministry of Industries; Security Services Division; Posts and Telecommunication Division, Information and Communication Technology Division, Nagad (State-owned financial service); Bangladesh Election Commission Secretariat; Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) Ministry of Defence Constabulary (MODC); Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF); Bangladesh Security and Exchange Commission; Dhaka Stock Exchange; Chattogram Stock Exchange; Jiban Bima Corporation; Sadharan Bima Corporation; Investment Cooperation of Bangladesh; and Bangladesh Insurance Association.

Bangladesh Bar Council; Bangladesh Judicial Service Association; BCS Customs Association; Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS); BCS Agriculture Association; Bangladesh Election Commission Officers’ Association; Poultry Association; Bangabandhu Diploma Engineers’ Parishad; Roads and Highways Diploma Engineers’ Association; Bangabandhu PWD Diploma Engineers’ Association; Bangladesh Tea Association; Bangladesh Engineers’ Club Limited; BUET Teachers’ Association; Bangladesh Registration Services Association; Thermax Group; Max Group; Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank; Bangladesh Krishi Bank; and Purbachal Club Limited are also among the organisations.

Besides, an individual, Mostasim Billah Siam, donated money to the PM’s Relief and Welfare Fund.