Bangladesh’s development vision: PM Hasina opens BIDF activities

29

Dhaka, Mar 15: Pursuing her government’s big development goals, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday formally inaugurated the activities of Bangladesh Infrastructure Development Fund (BIDF).

The BIDF aims to fund the country’s infrastructural development with its own resources.

The inauguration programme was held at the Finance Ministry while the Prime Minister attended it from her official residence Ganobhaban. Initially, investments will be made from the BIDF in the port and power sectors.

The annual investment target from this Fund has been fixed at an amount equivalent to USD 2 billion.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh, as a developing country, has to move forward on its own feet and carry out its development activities with its own funds.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, she mentioned, the foreign exchange reserve in Bangladesh has been increased with the enhanced remittance inflows.

“We’ve worked out a plan to utilise the reserve money properly for the development of our own keeping six months import payment intact,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said natural disasters can hit the country anytime destroying crops in the fields as Bangladesh is a calamity-prone country.

“So, keeping aside money for six months, our efforts would be how we could invest the rest of it. From that thinking, we’ve planned this Fund from where local and foreign investors can take loans,” she said.

Tripartite loan agreement

At the programme, a tripartite loan agreement was signed among the  Sonali Bank, Finance Division and Payra Port Authority on financing the capital and maintenance dredging of Rabanabad Channel of Payra Port scheme from the Fund.

The Prime Minister witnessed the loan signing programme.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, State Minister for Shipping Ministry Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury and Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir also spoke at the programme.

Senior Secretary of the Finance Division of the Finance Ministry Abdur Rouf Talukder made the power-point presentation on the BIDF. A documentary on Payra Port was also screened at the programme.

In her speech, Sheikh Hasina said Awami League has taken a number of steps since it has come to power which Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman wanted to complete.

“We’ve taken immediate steps — mid-term, long-term and farsighted programmes — which led Bangladesh to the emergence of a developing nation,” she said.

The Prime Minister said the core planning of the development programmes of the government is to provide financing to the grassroots level so that people living in rural areas could become self-reliant economically.

Inclusive development

“With the higher growth, inflation will become under control and mass people will get the benefits of this system. And the touch of development will be everywhere in the country equally. We’ve taken all the planning keeping eyes on that and this is how Bangladesh has emerged as a developing country,” she said.

Talking about the upcoming challenges as the developing country, Hasina said Bangladesh has to face those challenges with courage.

“We want to face those through increasing our productions, expanding our markets, exporting our products after meeting the domestic demands,”the Prime Minister said.

Connectivity

“As it is now a global village, one cannot live here alone, and that’s why Bangladesh has given its neighbouring countries like India, Nepal and Bhutan to use its ports,” she added.

Putting emphasis on capital dredging and maintenance, and dredging of rivers, including Rabanabad Channel, she said if the silts that accumulated on the riverbeds for hundreds of years can be removed then their navigability will increase significantly, creating the scope for enhanced trade and commerce through river ways.

“It’ll be possible to transport goods to Bhutan and Assam of India. And our economy will be stronger,” she said.

Port capacities

The Prime Minister also mentioned that the government has taken steps to increase the capacity of Chattogram port while the increased activities in Monga port have resumed.

She mentioned that activities of Payra Port have started on a limited scale and there will be another port at Matarbari.

“All these ports will play a significant role in strengthening the country’s economy,” she said.

Covid-19

Regarding the Covid-19 situation, the Prime Minister said the second wave of the coronavirus is already there to some extent.

She asked all to maintain health guidelines although the vaccination campaign is on. “I request you all to follow health guidelines even after having the vaccine doses,” she said.