President Abdul Hamid on Wednesday called for forging a unity of all on basic issues mentioning that peace and prosperity cannot take the permanent shape without the national unity.
He also urged all the MPs from both the treasury and opposition benches to play an appropriate and effective role in fulfilling the expectations of people.
“Peace and prosperity can’t take a permanent shape without national unity. I call for taking united efforts to build a unity of all irrespective of political affiliations, classes and professions on basic issues, including continuation of democracy, the rule of law and continued socioeconomic development,” the President said.
He further said, “The Jatiya Sangsad is the centrepiece of people’s hopes and aspirations. Alongside the ruling party, the opposition parties will have to play a constructive role in strengthening transparency, accountability, tolerance, human rights and rule of law and successfully implementing the nation’s dreams and aspirations for march forward.”
The President was delivering his speech on the opening day of the maiden session of the 11th Parliament in the evening. He started his speech at 6:16pm and ended it around 7:24pm.
In his speech, the President highlighted achievements of the government in different sectors, including the economy, trade and commerce, agriculture, power, foreign relations, tourism, education, health, women and children development, rural development, expatriates' welfare, science and technology, information and communication technology (ICT) and public administration.
Leader of the House and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was present at the House with newly-elected Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair during his speech.
Though Leader of the Opposition HM Ershad was absent as he is now receiving treatment abroad, Deputy Leader of the Opposition GM Qauder was present.
The President said Bangladesh will celebrate the birth centenary of Father of the National Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 2020 and the golden jubilee of the independence in 2021 as a middle-income country. “The nation’s expectation is that Bangladesh will emerge as the developed country by 2041.”
Expressing his optimism, he said, “We’ll be able to establish a welfare state by achieving the desired goals through upholding human rights, establishing good governance and social justice, institutionalising democracy and ensuring direct involvement of people in every sphere of society.”
Turning to the December-30 national election, Abdul Hamid said the election was held in a free, fair, peaceful and neutral manner with the participation of all parties under the supervision of the Election Commission, formed following discussions with the political parties and the recommendations of a search committee, which earned praise at home and abroad.
“The government was formed, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for the fourth time through an absolute majority in the election with people’s mandate. The verdict of the people is the reflection of unwavering support to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's popular election manifesto “Samriddhir Agrajatrai Bangladesh” (Bangladesh in pursuit of prosperity)'. The government is determined to implement the pledges made in the election manifesto. Everyone will have to work together to face the challenges in the implementation of these commitments,” he said.
The President said government's all-out efforts continue to strengthen and uphold the rule of law. “The Anti-Corruption Commission has been strengthened to establish good governance while the National Human Rights Commission and Information Commission have been established. The rule of law has been established by abolishing the infamous 'indemnity' law. Verdicts in the Bangabandhu murder and war crimes cases have been executed.”
He said the present government has been able to maintain sustainable economic growth in all economic indexes. “The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is above 7 percent from the fiscal year of 2015-16. According to the final estimate, the GDP rate in the fiscal year 2017-18 was 7.78 percent. Bangladesh’s economy is the 33rd in world in terms of purchasing power parity while 41st on the basis of the GDP size,” he said.
The President also said the per capita income is now $ 1,751 while foreign reserve crosses US$ 32 billion whereas the inflation rate dropped to 5.4 percent.
He also mentioned that the size of the national budget and revenue collection has increased manifold. “We’re successfully implementing many large projects, including construction of the Padma Bridge and flyovers, with our own funds through increasing the revenue collection.”
Abdul Hamid also said employment opportunities have been created at home and abroad over the last 10 years. “During the period, some 1.34 crore people were employed in the country while around 80 lakh abroad,” he said, adding that in the last five years, 34.82 lakh workers went aboard with jobs and earned about US$ 73 billion.
He said the government is implementing a five-year-long health, population and nutrition development programme at a cost of Tk 115,486 crore for ensuring healthcare.
The President said the government's 'zero-tolerance' policy against drug abuse, militancy and extremism has been praised worldwide, to the relief of people.
He also said monitoring centres have been established to prevent cybercrimes.