42nd Independence and national day Supplement
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Let’s make it a golden Bangla
ARCH 26 is our great Independence and National Day. On the eve of the day, I convey my heartfelt greetings and felicitations to the fellow countrymen living at home and abroad. The historic Independence Day is a glorious day in our national life. We achieved our long-cherished independence through nine-month long armed struggle and supreme sacrifices of millions of people. On this solemn day, I pay my deep homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives in the War of Liberation in 1971. I pray to the Almighty for the salvation of those departed souls. On this very memorable day, I recall with profound respect, the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who proclaimed country’s independence at the early hours on March 26, 1971. Responding to his clarion call, the people from all walks of life participated in the War of Liberation and achieved victory through armed struggle. I also recall with deep respect our four national leaders; valiant freedom-fighters and organizers who rendered their dedicated efforts and enthusiastic support that accelerated the achievement of our victory. I also remember with deep respect the contributions of late Sher-e-Bangla, A. K. Fazlul Haque, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy and Moulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani
who inspired our people at various stages for attaining country’s self-sovereignty. The contributions of those valiant sons of the soil would be ever written in the history of our independence. One of the prime objectives of our hardearned independence was to build a happy and prosperous Bangladesh. Keeping that in mind, the government is rendering untiring efforts in materializing the objectives of independence. With the span of time, we have achieved some significant progress in the field of agriculture, education, health, rural infrastructure, communication, ICT, SME, youth & sports, women and children, women empowerment, etc. at national level. At the same time we have also attained notable advancement in corporate sector including the area of readymade garments, pharmaceuticals, ceramic and ship-building industry. The government is also very sincere to establish rule of law, human rights in the country. Our achievement at international arena is also praiseworthy. Yet, we have to go a long way for achieving the desired goals of independence and building a happy and prosperous Bangladesh. I believe concerted efforts from all strata irrespective of party affiliation are imperative in this regard. (Continued on page 12)
Stay united, build Bangladesh
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
he birth of the sovereign state of Bangladesh in December 1971, after a heroic war of liberation, was the triumph of his deep faith in the people of the country. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, endearingly called Bangabandhu, or friend of Bangladesh, rose from the people, molded their hopes and aspirations into a dream and staked his life in the long battle for making it real. He was a true democrat, a real Muslim and a man of all human qualities. He employed in his struggle for securing justice and fair play for the people of Bangladesh only the democratic and constitutional means until his last breath.
We pledge to bring ‘71 criminals to justice
ODAY, Bangladesh celebrates its 42nd anniversary of her glorious Independence Day. As we celebrate the Day, I convey my heartfelt greetings and felicitations to my compatriots living at home and abroad. On this memorable day, I recall with profound respect the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who proclaimed country’s independence at the early hours on March 26, 1971. I also pay my deep homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives in the war of liberation in 1971 and the hundreds of thousands of women who were raped by the occupation Pakistani Armed forces, the auxiliary forces and their local collaborators. It all began with the assertion of a national identity in the face of systematic denial, discrimination and deprivation of that identity rooted in a millennia-old heritage of language, culture and customs. It evolved through the shaping of political demands for inclusion and equal access to opportunities, against marginalization of the Bangalee people and their cultural essence. It crystallized into the 6-point demand, a detailed manifesto for autonomy and devolution. The landslide victory for the Awami League in the first ever general elections in 1970 and the refusal to hand over power by the Pakistani authorities led to the non-co-operation movement culminating in the declaration of independence by Bangabandhu when the genocide began. We achieved our long-cherished independence through nine-month long armed struggle and supreme sacrifices of millions of people. Cherishing the true history of the liberation war, the present government has made giant strides to achieve the objectives of Charter of Change which will lead to Bangabandhu’s
‘Sonar Bangla’ — the Golden Bengal. We can visualize a middle-income, digital knowledge-based Bangladesh in 2021. We have demonstrated our intent and ability to forge partnerships with our immediate neighbors and far beyond. We are deeply involved in the process of multilateralism, through global and regional commitments in line with the policy of “Friendship to all and malice towards none” enunciated by Bangabandhu. The present government remains pledge-bound to bring the perpetrators of atrocities committed during the war of liberation in 1971 to justice. The defeated anti-liberation, communal and identified reactionary forces are trying to destabilize the country and derail the democratic and development process. They are out to portray a negative image of the country outside Bangladesh. I urge the international community to add their voice to the overwhelming popular demand emanating from the people of Bangladesh and join in their condemnation of those found guilty of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. On this very special day, I take the opportunity to thank all our officials and staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our Missions abroad who have devoted themselves to achieve our foreign policy objectives. I also congratulate the Bangladesh Diaspora who has been contributing to the buoyancy of the economy of their country of origin as well as of their host countries. Finally, I urge all to work unitedly imbued with the spirit of war of liberation to expedite economic self-reliance and democratic advancement of the country. Joy Bangla Joy Bangabandhu Dr. Dipu Moni, MP Foreign minister of Bangladesh
Nation is conspicuous by its global role
N the auspicious occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the Independence and National Day of Bangladesh, I extend my heartfelt felicitations and greetings to all our friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to all expatriate Bangladesh nationals living in this beautiful country. This great day as we celebrate, we recall with inspiration the historic declaration of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, “The struggle this time is the struggle for freedom, the struggle this time is the struggle for independence.” On this memorable occasion, we pay deep tribute to the valiant freedom fighters and martyrs of liberation war. Bangladesh as a country is witnessing rapid transformation. The heroic people of
Bangladesh are poised to take off the country to a challenging height. As a result, Bangladesh has made remarkable strides in various sectors. Its achievements in social development and
macro-management continue to elicit unqualified appreciation from the global community. Despite the most serious recession in decades, the economic base of the country has been strengthened due to prudent economic policy of the present government. Bangladesh is now one of the 11 promising countries of the 21st century who proved its adeptness in facing the recession. Bangladesh has put its efforts to strengthen the process of peace and democracy encouraging dialogue and negotiation, and called for reformation to the international order for protection and promotion of the interest of all nations. (Continued on page 12)
CONVEY my heartiest greetings to my countrymen as well as to all expatriate Bangalees on the occasion of the great Independence and National Day of Bangladesh. The March 26 is a glorious day in our national life. On this great day, I pay my deep homage to the 3 million martyrs and 200 thousand women who lost their innocence in the War of Liberation in 1971. I recall with deep gratitude the greatest Bangalee of all time, the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, under whose dynamic leadership we earned our great independence. I also pay my humble tributes to four national leaders and the valiant freedom fighters, who had fought against the Pakistani occupation forces to free our beloved motherland. I extend my sympathies to those who had lost their near and dear ones, and were subjected to brutal torture and subjugation during the war. I recall with gratitude our foreign friends who had extended their whole-hearted support and cooperation for the cause of our liberation. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman proclaimed the independence of Bangladesh at the first hour of the March 26, 1971 after the occupation forces launched sudden attack on innocent and unarmed Bangalees on the black night of March 25, 1971. Bangabandhu’s proclamation was spread all over the country through telegrams, tele-printers and EPR wireless. At each and every district and subdivision, Awami League leaders and workers publicized the declaration widely through mikes. The international media also had circulated Bangabandhu’s proclamation of independence. Under the brave and dauntless leadership of Bangabandhu, we earned the ultimate victory on the Dec. 16, 1971 after a 9-month bloody war. The independence, earned through huge bloodbath and sacrifice, is our people’s greatest achievement. To
ensure that this achievement remains meaningful, the spirit of our great liberation war should be reached to every nook and corner of the country. Cherishing the true history of the liberation war close to our hearts, we would have to go ahead in achieving the objectives of the Charter of Change by building a Bangladesh, free from corruption, mal-governance, terrorism, hunger and poverty. The present Awami League government has been implementing huge development programs in all sectors, including agriculture, education, health, law and order, information technology, energy and power and communications. The defeated anti-liberation, communal and identified reactionary forces are trying to undo the democratic and development process of our beloved country at a time when our government had executed the verdict of Bangabandhu’s assassination case, and is holding the trial of the war criminals. On this auspicious day of our independence, I urge the countrymen to remain united to foil the ill designed plots of the antidemocratic and anti-liberation forces against the government and the people. We have been striving hard to establish Bangladesh as a poverty, hunger and illiteracy free modern Digital Bangladesh by the golden jubilee year of our independence through implementing ‘Vision-2021.’ I hope that all citizens of our country would engage themselves with their utmost sincerity, honesty and dedication to build Bangladesh as a prosperous and prestigious country in the comity of nations. I am confident that Insha-Allah, with our united efforts, we would surely achieve our golden Bangladesh as envisioned by the Father of the Nation. Joi Bangla, Joi Bangabandhu May Bangladesh Live Forever Sheikh Hasina Prime minister of Bangladesh
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Let’s make it a golden Bangla (Continuation from page 11) The people of our country are democracy-loving. Without making institutionalization of democracy, the overall development is hard to attain. Tolerance, fortitude and respect to others’ opinion are the pre-conditions for a flourishing democracy. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to maintain patience, forbearance at all levels and to be respectful to others’ opinion in a democratic pluralism. Let us make our Jatiya Shangsad a centre of excellence in solving our national issues through discussion. I am confident, everybody irrespective of party affiliation would play a responsible role in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of our common people by playing their due role. The present government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has declared ‘Vision 2021’ with a view to attaining ‘Golden Bangla’ dreamed by Bangabandhu. I believe people from all strata of life would contribute to build an IT-based happy and prosperous Bangladesh by materializing the ‘Vision’ in the Golden Jubilee of Independence in 2021. On this Independence Day, I urge all, living at home and abroad, to work unitedly imbued with spirit of War of Liberation to expedite economic self-reliance and democratic advancement of the country. May the Almighty be with us Khoda Hafez, May Bangladesh Live Forever Md. Abdul Hamid Advocate President in charge of Bangladesh
Nation is conspicuous by its global role (Continuation from page 11) Our contribution to the UN peacekeeping in many troubled spots in the world eloquently speaks of our continuing commitment in this direction. In fact, Bangladesh’s enlightened and forward looking foreign policy has made the country an important role player in the UN, NAM, OIC, Commonwealth and other international and regional organizations. Bangladesh always attaches great importance to its relations with the government and the brotherly people of Saudi Arabia. The existing bonds of friendship between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia are deep-rooted and are characterized by common priorities, shared perspectives and fraternal relations. The fraternal relations have been further cemented by ever deepening bilateral ties in different areas including cooperation in the field of manpower. Both the countries hold identical positions on most international issues in the international arena, particularly on the issues relating to the causes of Islamic Ummah. Md. Shahidul Islam Ambassador of Bangladesh
We cherish our priceless relationship with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
N the auspicious occasion of the 42nd anniversary of our Independence and National Day, I wish to extend my sincere greetings and warm felicitations to the brotherly people and the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to our all friends and well-wishers as well as to our fellow countrymen living in the spiritual home of the Muslim communities. On this great day, we recall with profound respect Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Father of the Nation, whose unprecedented charismatic leadership and long struggle helped us in achieving our long cherished independence. We pay homage to the memories of those martyrs of the War of Liberation, whose supreme sacrifice made us free as a nation. We also recall with gratitude the contribution made by our
valiant freedom fighters in the War of Liberation. Since our independence, Bangladesh has made continued efforts to consolidate democracy, alleviate poverty, and attain economic development and better life for our people. We have also worked closely with our friends in the international community to promote peace and stability across the globe. The present government of Bangladesh, under the dynamic leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has been relentlessly striving toward strengthening democracy, establishing rule of law, ensuring good governance and securing the fundamentals for an unimpeded economic growth. The government is committed to fulfilling its election manifesto of “Vision 2021” of transforming Bangladesh to a middle-income country and a “Digital
Bangladesh” by 2021 driven by knowledge and IT based development. We are moving forward in pursuit of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Over the years, we have strengthened our image as a responsible and contributing member
of the committee of nations in various areas of international cooperation including the UN peacekeeping operations. As one of the largest Muslim countries, Bangladesh enjoys special brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia based on common Islamic values, traditions, faith, culture and mutual respect. We acknowledge the fact gratefully that our Saudi brothers and sisters have always extended their hands of cooperation to Bangladesh particularly in the hours of crises. We are also thankful for the generous hosting of a significant number of Bangladeshi expatriates, who have been playing very important and active role to the socio-economic development of the two brotherly countries. Here, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the government of Saudi Arabia for providing highly commendable support, facili-
ties and services to our Haj and Umrah pilgrims. We do believe that the existing brotherly relations between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia would continue to grow in leaps and bounds in the days ahead for the benefit of two peoples. On this memorable day, I also take this opportunity to extend our sincere thanks to all Saudi leaders, officials, business persons for their continuous and valuable support to our efforts at promoting and strengthening the ties between the brotherly countries. I also acknowledge the priceless support extended by our expatriates in discharging our responsibilities smoothly. I wish all particularly our expatriates continued peace, prosperity and happiness. Md. Nazmul Islam Consul general of Bangladesh
Bangladesh: A unique destination for tourists
LESSED with scenic beauty, low hills, forest, large lakes, beautiful rivers in deltaic plains, the longest beach on earth, a God-gifted geo-strategic location between SAARC and ASEAN and a homogeneous culture, Bangladesh is an ideal place for tourists. It has a host of tourist treasures to offer the international tourists — beaches, lakes, rivers, hills, forests, wildlife, tribal life, archaeological remains, including historical monuments, folklore, religious and cultural heritage, handicrafts and much more. It has the world's longest sea beach of the world and some archaeological sites representing ancient Buddhist civilization.
In recent times with the gradual development of infrastructure facilities and increasing exposition, Bangladesh is fast emerging as an attractive tourist spot on the global map. Our tourist attractions are widely spread throughout the country. The country’s historical legacy is composed of various strands, including Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist cultures. The 64 districts of Bangladesh have major tourist spots of national importance in mainly Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Cox's Bazar, Khulna, Comilla, Barisal and Sylhet. The country provides many tourist packages offering different kinds of sightseeing opportunities. One can get low-price deals on flights to
Dhaka throughout the year. The cost of living in the country is amongst the lowest in the world, making Dhaka, and Bangladesh as a whole amongst the best value destinations in the world. A few interesting and a must see destinations are listed below. Dhaka City: The 400 years of Dhaka city was celebrated in 2008. The city was founded in 1608 as the seat of the Mughal viceroys of Bengal and is known world over for its fine muslin. Dhaka has now grown into a bustling city of over 89 million people and serves as the nation’s capital. It is known as the city of mosques. Some of its outstanding ancient monuments are Lalbag
Fort (built in 1978), Paribibi’s Tomb (1678 CE), Bara Katra, Hussini Dalan, Star Mosque, Satgambus (Seven-domed) Mosque (1680) and Dakeswari Temple. The Central Shaeed Minar commemorates the martyrs of the historic language movement of 1952. Bahadur Shah Park is the memorial for the heroes of Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. The National Museum houses an excellent collection of archaeological finds, sculptures and paintings. Architectural trends, both traditional and contemporary, are reflected in Curzon Hall, High Court and new Supreme Court building. (Continued on page 14)
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Dhaka, Riyadh: The 37-year journey of mutual trust
Saudi and Bangladeshi teams in discussion during a bilateral meeting.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a meeting with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah during her visit to the Kingdom.
IL ATERAL cooperation between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia is rooted deep in history, culture and religious bonds. For the past 37 years, both Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have undertaken a journey of shared values that has led us to where we are: A journey of cooperation and mutual trust that has enhanced our bilateral ties, and a journey of friendship that has imprint in our hearts for now and for the years to come. Bangladesh believes in religious harmony and tolerance and plays a vital role in maintaining peace in the troubleprone parts of the world, thus being the number one contributor to the UN peacekeeping force. A vibrant democracy, Bangladesh is making sustained efforts to spread the message of tolerance, peace and a moderate Islam; and in this regard strengthening cooperation with Saudi Arabia is crucial. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, being the birth place of Islam and home to Islam’s two holy sites in Makkah and Madinah, is the most brotherly and revered country for the 150 million people of Bangladesh, of whom nearly 90 percent are Muslims. Saudi Arabia has a special place in the hearts of the people of Bangladesh and they always remember the contributions made by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz and his government during “our times of need.” Around 1.2 million Bangladesh nationals working here felt proud to be part of the development activities of the great country. The extents of bilateral relations that so happily exist between the two brotherly countries have endured the test of time. Bangladesh’s relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are multifaceted. Interactions between the peoples of the two countries date back to more than thousand years. Arab traders used to visit Chittagong port since the early days of Islam. Now is the time not only to reinvigorate these ties but also to explore possibilities of further expanding them to newer areas like investment, tourism, and cultural exchanges. Over the last 37 years, BangladeshSaudi friendship has not only endured the vicissitudes of time, but also been consolidated and prospered. We have been maintaining good momentum of high-level exchanges and contacts, deepening our mutual trust; especially during the last two years the high level visits by ministers, parliamentarians, and senior officials from Bangladesh have increased significantly. Last year, the late President of
Bangladesh Md. Zillur Rahman had led a 15-member delegation to Makkah on Aug. 13-17 to attend the 4th Extraordinary Session of Islamic Summit in Makkah at the invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. The same year, there were as many as six ministerial visits from Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia. Ministerial level visits in 2012 included the Bangladesh foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia in March and June, the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment minister’s visits to Saudi Arabia in February and June, and the education minister’s visit in December. During her visit to the Kingdom on March 20-23, 2012, Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni had a fruitful and effective bilateral meeting with her counterpart Prince Saud Al-Faisal. The visit of the foreign minister was timely and effective to further enhance the existing bilateral relations. Moreover, the visit of the expatriates' welfare minister on Feb. 22-28, 2012 added impetus to our bilateral rela-
Now is the time not only to reinvigorate these ties but also to explore possibilities of further expanding them to newer areas like investment, tourism, and cultural exchanges. tions in the field of manpower export from Bangladesh. The two sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations with special focus on cooperation in the field of human resources. Both the sides identified and acknowledged areas of mutual concern and were convinced that joint efforts would help overcome the existing challenges and broaden the horizon of cooperation. The high level visit between the two countries this year started with the visit of the speaker of the Majlis Ash Shura (Shura Council) of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Sheik, who led a 13-member delegation to visit Bangladesh on Jan. 6-9. The Bangladesh Minister for Cultural Affairs
Abul Kalam Azad visited the Kingdom on March 11-14 to attend the opening ceremony of the yearlong celebrations to mark Madinah as the capital of Islamic culture. Prince Alwaled bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the chairman of the Kingdom Holding and Princess Ameerah along with 16-member delegation visited Bangladesh on June 10 last year at the invitation of Bangladesh government. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina conferred ‘Bangladesh Friendship Medal’ on Prince Alwaleed for his special contribution toward improving brotherly relations between the two countries during his day-long visit. All these visits have added new momentum and generated greater enthusiasm to the existing close relations between the two nations. The exchange of the highlevel visits also signifies the intention of both the governments to encourage and maintain cooperation across all sectors between Dhaka and Riyadh. The recently concluded 10th session of Saudi-Bangladesh Joint Commission (JC) meeting, which was the first JC meeting in almost five years, has provided further impetus in our bilateral relations. The meeting, held on Feb. 25-26, 2013 in Riyadh, provided a platform for multifarious engagement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in securing tangible benefits in terms of economy, trade, investment, education, culture, human resource development, manpower cooperation and other development cooperation. The two governments have signed several memorandums of understanding/ agreements to facilitate collaboration in diverse fields over the years. Bilateral relations particularly in the field of trade and commerce have received a fresh thrust after the recent signing of the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement. Another agreement on Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments has been finalized and is expected to be inked shortly and this treaty would herald a new era in facilitating investments in both the countries. Saudi Arabia is Bangladesh’s one of the longstanding development partners. Since formal recognition of Bangladesh by Saudi Arabia in 1975, bilateral relations between the two countries have grown steadily in depth and dimension. Beyond the ambit of political relations, cooperation between the two countries in economic fields has developed substantially. Saudi Arabia has been consistently extending financial and technical assistance to Bangladesh in various fields. Bangladesh has received economic assistance in various sectors including rural infrastructure development, health, rural
electrification, communication, irrigation, disaster/post disaster relief and rehabilitation in the form of grants and loans. Bilateral trade between the two countries increased steadily over the last couple of years and there is potential for further improvement in the trade ties as two countries have much to offer to each other. According to latest statistics, the annual two-way trade rose to $ 922.33 million in FY 2011-12 as against $ 869.56 million in the FY 2010-11. The Kingdom mainly imports ready-made garments (knits and woven), frozen food, dry food, fresh vegetables, various spices and curry powder, melamine items while it exports oil, petro-chemicals and fertilizers in large quantities. Saudi investments in Bangladesh basically started with the establishment of Saudi Bangladesh Industrial and Agricultural Investment Company (SABINCO) in 1984 with its headquarters in Dhaka. On Feb. 27, 2013, a bilateral meeting at the level of ministers between the two countries was held on to renew the Haj management agreement. After the meeting, Bangladesh State Minister for Religious Affairs Advocate Shahjahan Miah and Saudi Haj Minister Dr Bandar
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina giving ‘Bangladesh Friendship Medal’ to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in June last year.
bin Hajjar signed the Haj agreement with the provision of 1,27,198 pilgrims to perform Haj from Bangladesh. On the other hand, a sizable number of Bangladeshis are working in the Kingdom contributing to the economic development of both the countries. The fraternal ties between the two countries are, therefore, continually nourished by both spiritual and material impulses.
These excellent relations between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia may be attributed to the fact that both countries share many common perspectives, values and commitments. Today there is contact between an impressive range of individuals and institutions in almost every sector of our two societies. Bangladesh hopes to build on the achievements of the past to set up a future of even closer cooperation.
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Unique destination for tourists (Continued from page 12) The National Memorial at Shavar commemorating the martyrs of the Liberation War of 1971 and Martyred Intellectuals’ Memorial at Rayer Bazar in memory of the martyred intellectuals of liberation war stands out with its own uniqueness. The oldest section of the city runs along the north bank of the waterfront and was developed when Dhaka was a significant Moghul trading centre. A must-see in the Old City is the area between the two main water transport terminals — Sadarghat and Badam Tole — where the panorama of river life on the Buriganga is particularly fascinating. Along the waterfront is the old baroque-style palace, Ahsan Manzil, which has been painted bright pink. Sonargaon, is located about 20 miles east of Dhaka, was capital of the region between13th and early 17th centuries and retains historical relics of interest. Rajendrapur National Park, 30 miles north of capital noted for varied bird life. Chittagong: The second largest city of Bangladesh and a busiest sea port in Bangladesh. Its green hills, forests and sea-beaches attract holiday makers. Many of the heavy, medium and light industries are located here. These include jute, cotton, textile, automobile, fertilizer, engineering, chemical, tobacco, timber and tannery industries. The country's only steel mill and oil refinery are also located here. Places of interest in and around Chittagong include Shahi Jame Mosque, Chandpura Mosque, Sitakunda Hindu and Buddhist temples, Foys Lake etc. The Shahi Jama-e-Masjid and Qadam Mubarak Mosque are two of the most impressive buildings in the city. It is also worth visiting the Ethnological Museum in the Modern City which has interesting displays on Bangladesh's tribal peoples.
Moving toward a middle income nation Professor Mustafizur Rahman
ANGLADESH has set her ambition to be a middle income country by 2021 when our nation and our people will be celebrating 50 years of our glorious independence. This ambition has now got reflected in the 10-year Perspective Plan and the Sixth Five Year Plan of the present government. The past performance and future potentials of the Bangladesh economy have also attracted increasing global attention and high appreciation. Inclusion of Bangladesh, according to a number of prestigious projections, as one of the prospective next 11 emerging economies of the world also reinforces the aspiration of Bangladesh and gives credence to our ambition to be a middle income country over the next few years. Setting this lofty goal for ourselves could also be interpreted as a way of paying our homage to our martyrs who made supreme sacrifice for the birth of our country, and a tribute to our valiant freedom fighters who took up arms and fought in our war of liberation, inspired by the visionary leadership of Bangabandhu who dedicated his life for a Bangladesh that will be free from hunger, poverty, exploitation, inequality and injustice. Our goal of graduating to a middleincome country status ought to be guided by these ideas which go beyond mere economic well being, but also include ideas of inclusiveness in development and justice and fairness in distribution. The Confidence: Impressive Track Record Bangladesh’s track record of achievements, in different sectors and according to various performance indicators, bear evidence that she is making impressive and encouraging progress towards attaining her goal of being a middle income country by 2021. Bangladesh was able to accelerate her GDP growth from under four per cent per year to over six per cent
within a span of two decades; the per capita national income has increased at even higher rate thanks to robust flow of remittance sent by our migrant workers and the diaspora; percentage of population living below the poverty line has almost halved to about 31 per cent compared to the early 1990s with the pace of poverty reduction doubling in recent years; our country has been able to make commendable transition from a predominantly aid-dependent economy to a trading nation, with the share of aid as a percentage of GDP coming down from about 6 per cent in the 1980s to less than 2 per cent in recent times; Bangladesh has been able to take advantage of opportunities originating from globalisation through increased earnings from export of goods and services – the combined net foreign exchange earnings from export of goods and remittance are at present about fifteen times more than the aid we receive annually; Bangladesh has established herself as the second largest exporter of apparels in the world, after China; our shipbuilding, footwear, pharmaceuticals and other non-traditional exports are showing encouraging signs;
Our goal of graduating to a middle-income country status … guided by ideas (that) include ideas of inclusiveness in development and justice and fairness in distribution. our farmers have increased food grains production by more than three-fold since independence enabling Bangladesh to move towards food security; our economy has been able to demonstrate impressive resilience in the face of multiple global and financial crises. Bangladesh’s track record in attaining key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) including in the areas of poverty alleviation, gender parity, and access to health and education has received high global acclaim;
indeed Bangladesh has been making impressive progress in terms of attaining most of the MDG targets by 2015. These aforesaid achievements were possible through a combination of factors: supportive government policies and targeted resource allocation; the hard work of our farmers and workers — both at home and abroad; contribution of the private sector and our vibrant entrepreneurial class; proactive role of our non-government actors including in areas of disbursement of micro-credit, development of micro-enterprises and raising consciousness about economic and social issues; targeted support provided by development partners. There is widespread confidence among our citizens that Bangladesh ‘can’, that ‘her time has come’, but also that the ‘window of opportunity’ is narrow and that we will need to move really fast. The next few years will thus be critically important if the goal of middle income country status is to be realised by the time Bangladesh turns fifty. Going Ahead: The Challenges and Attendant Tasks Continuation of our past successes and
acceleration of the growth process in future which will be needed to attain the goal of middle income status will hinge crucially on our ability to identify and make work the drivers of future growth and on creating conducive and supportive environment for businesses to work, commerce to take place and economic activities to flourish. Undertaking the needed reform measures, strengthening development administration and building the capacity of relevant institutions of economic governance must be given highest priority by the policymakers if the pace of development is to be accelerated. As is well-known, the threshold for middle-income country status is a moving goal post. The present benchmark of per capita income of USD 1026 for (low) middle income status (according to 2011 benchmark which is revised annually) will undergo multiple upward revision as we move towards 2021 (incidentally, the upper middle class threshold at present is USD 4036). So, in a way we shall be in a race against time where our journey and progress towards the goal of middleincome status will need to be non-linear, robust and more strategic over the coming years. Moving forward will be more challenging than had been in the past, for several reasons – in alleviating poverty we will need to focus more on dealing with the issues of hard-core poverty; in addressing literacy we will need to tackle more effectively the issues of quality; in accelerating growth we will need to put more emphasis on raising labour and capital productivity through upgradation of skills and technological endowments. The adverse impacts of climate change are likely to become more visible in the coming years requiring significant reallocation of resources. Raising annual GDP growth rate to double-digit and creating employment opportunities for the two million additional people joining the country’s labour market each year will be crucially important to achieve the middle income country status.