#Bangladesh achieves developing country status
#Power generation gets big boost
#Women empowerment marks significant rise
The incumbent government has fulfilled most of the pledges ruling Awami League made in its Vision 2021 before the 2008 general election.
Bangladesh has now been regarded as a ‘wonder of the world’ across the globe for its massive development through successful materialisation of the charter for change.
The AL-led government has completed nearly 13 consecutive years in office, setting a milestone of success in all the development indexes. During the period, the country has emerged as a role model of development in the world.
Just before the 9th parliamentary elections, AL kept five issues -- keeping food prices under control, ensuring overall economic stability, curbing corruption, resolving power and fuel crisis, alleviating poverty and establishing the rule of law -- in its priority list and set several pro-people goals to turn the country into a middle-income one by 2021.
AL Presidium member Faruk Khan told the Daily Sun that the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has fulfilled 90 percent of its promises made on December 12 in 2008 when Sheikh Hasina rolled out the Vision 2021.
Quoting Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, he said the renowned economist has also highly lauded Bangladesh’s revolution in economy. “Bangladesh has been regarded as a ‘wonder of the world’ around the globe,” he said.
Highlighting various activities of the present government since its journey in 2009, the AL leader said the poverty rate has dropped to around 20 percent from over 40 percent while women empowerment marked a significant rise in all sectors.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s dynamic leadership, prudence, honesty, courage and workaholic manner have been acclaimed by the global community after she assumed office on January 6, 2009.
The long journey, however, was not all rosy for the AL-led government. Yet, her dynamic leadership has taken the country to new heights as it has achieved the developing country status.
The incumbent government has turned the country into ‘Digital Bangladesh’ as per its promise and the nation has been enjoying successful transformation of tech-friendly country from an analogue one. The government celebrated Digital Bangladesh Day on December 12.
The present government is in power for record third consecutive term. It is governing the country with stability unlike any other previous time.
It had been able to maintain its popularity in the 2014 general election by carrying out massive development activities as part of its polls manifesto.
Amid the boycott of elections by the opposition political parties, including Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its alliance partners, the government has been able to strengthen the local government system through holding regular polls as per its promise.
One of the major promises of the government was to address corruption in the country as the country became champions for five times in the world corruption index during the BNP regime.
Although it made great success in reducing corruption, it has not been possible to fully eradicate the menace from the country.
Bangladesh ranked 146th among 180 countries in the 2020 rankings of Global Corruption Perception Index by the Transparency International (TI). In its fight against corruption, the AL-led government has taken organisational and legal actions against party leaders and activists.
The government has also materialised AL’s promise to make the wealth statements and sources of income of the prime minister, cabinet members, MPs and their family members public every year.
Over the issue, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said all the ministers and MPs are submitting wealth statements regularly. “Even they have submitted their wealth statements to the Election Commission before the national election, which are public documents and anyone can read those,” she said.
The construction work on the much-hyped Padma Bridge, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country, is nearing completion with own fund. This is a major success of the AL-led government following the World Bank’s withdrawal of the $1.2 billion loan.
Bangladesh launched satellite Bangabandhu-I, the first communication satellite of the country, into the orbit in May 2018.
Work on the Dhaka metro rail, Dhaka elevated expressway, bus rapid transit, the elevated expressway from Lalkhan Bazar to Shah Amanat International Airport in Chattogram, first underwater Karnaphuli Tunnel and Payra deep seaport is underway.
Bangladesh is tackling the coronavirus pandemic successfully because of the prime minister’s timely and bold decisions as well as untiring efforts.
Awami League had promised to take steps about caretaker government system, making parliament effective and democratic institutions strong, and ensuring independent judiciary.
It has already revolved the caretaker government system and has taken all necessary steps to make the parliament effective.
But, the government failed to formulate laws for the appointment of election commissioners and judges of the apex court.
However, Law Minister Anisul Huq recently told parliament that work on formulating laws on appointing election commissioners and judges of the apex court is underway. “Drafts have already been prepared but a bill will be placed in the next or later session to enact a law on formation of the Election Commission. However, the next Election Commission will not be formed under a new law,” he said.
The government has made tremendous success in the power and energy sector as the country is doing extremely well in terms of electrification. The policymakers are very much in the know that electricity can increase productive hours in a household in terms of education and economic wellbeing.
Officials and experts say the country is able to supply electricity to nearly cent percent population so far and the power generation capacity is now well in excess of 25,200 megawatts (MW).
In 2009, when the AL government assumed office, the power generation capacity was only 4,942 MW and electricity coverage was only 47 percent.
Bangladesh has entered a new era of nuclear energy through constructing the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant by overcoming the period of acute load-shedding.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has unanimously adopted a resolution on the graduation of Bangladesh from the LDC category, in recognition of the country’s extraordinary achievements in the development journey.
With the adoption of the resolution, Bangladesh has completed all the procedures to graduate from the group of least developed countries (LDCs).
The landmark achievement coincides with the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence and the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Beside, the map of Bangladesh has taken a new shape after the country won 118,813 square kilometres of maritime zones in the Bay of Bengal through the settlement of maritime disputes with Myanmar and India.
Besides, Bangladesh resolved disputes over a total of 162 enclaves in Kurigram, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat and Koch Behar, 22 patches of adversely possessed land on the Bangladesh-India border and 6.5km of un-demarcated border in Matamuhuri, Doikhata and Lathithuli in accordance with the 1974 agreement signed by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with India.
In the last 13 years, the economic condition of the people of Bangladesh has improved tremendously. During the tenure of the BNP-Jamaat government, the per capita income was only $543, which became quintuple during the Awami League government. The per capita income is now $ 2,554.
Even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been possible to maintain the pace of economic progress.
Bangladesh has achieved a record of over $ 48 billion foreign exchange reserve due to the development-friendly policies and strategies of the Sheikh Hasina government.
Former Dhaka University Vice-chancellor Prof Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique told the Daily Sun that the government has achieved many goals and in many cases, it has exceeded the targets.
“Despite its effort to establish good governance, many people have been affected by the corruption virus. The government must address such greedy and dishonest people with an iron hand,” he said.
“In some cases, the government lags behind the targets due to the fallout of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, the government will be able to recoup the losses and march forward to achieve the long-term plan to turn the country into a developed one by 2041,” Arefin added.
Bangladesh is on the right track to alleviate poverty and abject poverty through creating employments.
The country's poverty rate is returning to the pre-pandemic level following a rise during the pandemic.
According to the World Bank forecast, before the ongoing pandemic, country’s poverty rate was 11.9 percent in 2018-2019 fiscal year but the pandemic reversed the country's steady trend of poverty reduction, lifting the poverty rate to an estimated 12.9 percent in 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Despite being small in size and burgeoning in population, Bangladesh has managed to overcome all odds to clinch the envious position in the top 10 in 13 sectors globally over the past 50 years since its independence -- fourth in rice production, first in hilsa, second in readymade garments, eighth in remittance, third in vegetables, sixth in potatoes, second in jackfruit, eighth in mangoes, eighth in guava, second in goat milk, freshwater fish and second in outsourcing.
It has been possible to earn such global positions due to the time-befitting policies and decisions of the AL-led government.
The government could not, however, deliver on the AL promise to keep the food prices under control.
Although people’s purchasing capacity has increased over the last 13 years, most of them are struggling to manage their daily life due to the skyrocketing prices of essentials.
One of the major promises of Awami League was to promote women empowerment by ensuring their 33 percent participation in politics and increasing parliamentary reserve seats to 100. The government is making efforts to this end but it is yet to achieve the target.
In the 11th parliamentary elections, 22 women were directly elected from amongst the 300 constituencies, with another 50 seats reserved for women in 350-member strong parliament.
The total rate of female representatives therefore stands at 20.3 percent.
The Prime Minister, Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition and four members in the cabinet are women. Many women are appointed in the judiciary, armed forces, police force and different cadre services.