DHAKA, March 21, 2023 (BSS)-Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today emphasized again on boosting of agricultural production in the country alongside ensuring proper preservation, processing and exporting of those abroad.
The Premier also urged all concerned to give proper attention in cultivation, preservation and processing of pulse, onion and mustard oil side by side ensuring that no land remains idle and thus comes under cultivation.
The Prime Minister gave the directives while chairing a meeting on the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) held at the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area here today.
State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam, Planning Commission members and secretaries concerned were present at the briefing.
Briefing the reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that the Prime Minister stressed again on not keeping any land idle and thus bringing those under cultivation.
In this connection, Mannan said the Prime Minister noted that Sylhet region still has much land remaining idle or without cultivation and suggested to bring those land under cultivation.
She asked the concerned authorities to provide necessary support including technical support and expertise to those Shrimp Gher owners in the coastal region so that they could clear sand, owing to cyclones, storms and tidal surge, from their ghers.
The Premier emphasized on putting more attention on cultivating local variety of fishes instead of promoting foreign varieties.
She also expressed her reservation on using the word “poverty alleviation” in any project side by side to use more the words human resource development.
Sheikh Hasina said it is not always wise to build only structures under any project, but there is also a need for grooming necessary manpower and imparting them proper training to run the machineries and equipments under the structures and building to render services to the people.
The Planning Minister said that the Prime Minister also underscored the need for using locally assembled vehicles preferably from Pragati in the government projects instead of the imported vehicles.
Besides, she reiterated that the project directors should work in their respected projects and sites instead of discharging their responsibilities as in additional charge.
Mannan said that the Premier also directed the concerned authorities to follow respective rules and regulations in the project management as well as trying to reduce the tendency of engaging foreign consultants in the development projects.
Touching upon the current macroeconomic situation of the country, he said that the general point to point inflation has increased slightly in February while it could be increased further in March.
“If there is a bumper Boro harvest, then inflation may come down from Baishakh, but there should not be excessive rainfall during this period,” he added.
The Planning Minister said that the overall economy is now in a much better state compared to the past adding, “If the inward remittance, export earnings and crops yield go in the same direction, then there is nothing to worry,”
He said that for a developing country like Bangladesh, the supply side is very important.
Mannan noted that in economies like Bangladesh, the flow of goods is not smooth while there are also some unseen and unknown difficulties.
“Inherent difficulties are there and we’re trying to minimize those to tame inflation, but we can’t just eliminate those,” he added.
He said in growing economies like Bangladesh, it is not possible to tame fully the inflation, rather it can be reduced.
When asked about any specific directive from the Prime Minister to rein in inflation during the ensuing Holy Month of Ramadan, Mannan said that there is a tendency among the people to resort to “panic buying” ahead and during the Ramadan which gives the “Smart Businessmen” to capitalize on the situation.
He said that the Prime Minister has asked all concerned to remain cautious in this regard.
The Planning Minister said that the government is stressing more on the supply side to keep the market stable.
He also said that the ECNEC also thanked the Prime Minister as the newly built Indo-Bangla Friendship Pipeline has been inaugurated recently.
The two neighbours built a 131.57-km cross-border pipeline through which Bangladesh will import petroleum, especially diesel from India.
Planning Division Secretary Satyajit Karmakar said that the Prime Minister asked all concerned to remain cautious before the project formulation.
He said that the trend of revisioning of projects would come down in the future ECNEC meetings.
Echoing with the Planning Secretary, the Planning Minister said that they are trying desperately in this regard.