Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said her government is working out all of its activities in a planned way to ensure economic development in rural areas to provide all urban facilities there.
“All our development activities are village-centric ones. We’ve taken numerous programmes to provide urban facilities in rural areas,” she said when World Bank Vice-president for the South Asia Region Hartwig Schafer met her at her Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban office.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
He said the Prime Minister put emphasis on improving communications and electricity in rural areas as these two are very important for the development of a country.
She mentioned that the government has given emphasis on developing the waterway after road and railway as this is a cheaper way for transportation of people and goods.
About enhancing connectivity among countries of the region, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has already included itself in the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Initiative, and Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM).
She mentioned that India has already agreed to give transit for Bangladesh-Nepal and Bangladesh-Bhutan route.
The Prime Minister said the government is developing Saidpur Airport to make it a regional hub so that India, Nepal and Bhutan could use it.
She also said the government will ensure cent percent electricity for all in the country within the next two years.
Hasina said Bangladesh is importing 500MW of electricity from India.
She said the government is setting up 100 economic zones in different areas to create employment opportunities in the country.
The Prime Minister also mentioned that the government is taking ICT sector to rural areas for creating more IT-based opportunities.
About women empowerment, she said the government initially had faced obstacles, but later it overcame those barriers. “Now, women are working in all the sectors, including judiciary, admin, army, police, BGB and teaching profession,” she said.
Hasina said the government is sending stipend money to mothers of school-going students through mobile phones.
World Bank's Vice-president for the South Asia Region Hartwig Schafer highly praised the government for the tremendous development of Bangladesh in various socioeconomic sectors.
In the last five decades, he said, Bangladesh became a middle-income country from its extreme poverty. The progress in the health sector is very much remarkable, he mentioned.
“Other countries of the world will try to replicate Bangladesh’s development initiatives,” Schafer said.
He also put emphasis on the development of rural areas terming it very important.
The WB official assured the Prime Minister of continuing their support for the development of Bangladesh. “We shall be able to get more funding for Bangladesh.”
He also praised women empowerment in various sectors of the country.
Schafer said the countries of this region should follow the win-win situation during the regional collaboration which will be better for all.
He also put emphasis on the development of communications sector.
PM’s Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus and Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Monowar Ahmed were, among others, present at the meeting.