Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday expressed her firm conviction to make a poverty-free Bangladesh as hunger has already been eradicated from the country.
“We’ve been able to make the country free from hunger. So, now we’ll have to make it completely poverty free,” she said while inaugurating the weeklong PKSF Development Fair 2019 in the city.Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) arranged the programme at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
The Prime Minister said the government is implementing 125 programmes under the social safety net. Tk 74,000 crore is spent from the national budget for the social safety net to alleviate poverty.
“We’ve been implementing these programmes to strengthen social empowerment. The rural and grassroots people are getting benefits of the programmes,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Awami League prepared the action plans to fight poverty even when it was in the opposition.
“I always used to say that our main enemy is poverty. So, we’ll have to fight poverty and make the people free from poverty. We prepared the action plans with this goal. We did it when we were in the opposition,” she said.
The PM said poverty rate declined to 21 percent from 41 percent in 2006. “But our goal is to bring down it to at least 15-16 percent so that Bangladesh will not remain poor and can run standing on its own feet. Insallah, we’ll able to do so,” she said.Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal also spoke at the function chaired by PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad.
PKSF Managing Director Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah delivered the welcome speech.
In the inaugural session of the fair, lifetime achievement award was given to Begum Matia Chowdhury MP for her outstanding contribution to the field of poverty alleviation through development of the agricultural sector as the Agriculture Minister during the 1996-2001 and 2009-2013 periods.
Some 130 organisations, including partner organisations (non-government organisations funded under various programmes) of the PKSF, will showcase their products at 190 stalls in the weeklong exposition.
The fair will remain open for visitors from 10am to 8:30pm every day till November 20.
PKSF, an apex development organisation, was established by the government in 1990 for sustainable poverty reduction through employment generation. The state-run agency provides up to Tk 10 lakh in loans to small and medium-sized enterprises in order to create entrepreneurs and jobs in rural areas.