Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday directed the authorities concerned to strengthen monitoring so that genuine masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are supplied to prevent the coronavirus transmission.
“Boxes are labeled with ‘N-95 Mask’. But you’ve to look into whether things inside the boxes are genuine,” she said while talking to the high officials of the health sector through a videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban.
The Prime Minister stressed the need for strengthening monitoring whether the suppliers are providing the right things. “Those who receive these (PPE) will check those properly (things inside the boxes),” she said.
Noting that the PPEs recently delivered to Mohanagar Hospital might not be the right ones, Sheikh Hasina said she recently sent a photo to the Health Minister in this regard.
Health Services Division Secretary Md Ashadul Islam, Director General of Health Services Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad, Director of Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) Brig Gen Md Shahidullah and other high officials remained connected with the videoconference from the office of the Directorate General of Health Services in the city’s Mohakhali area.
CMSD Director Brig Gen Md Shahidullah said they received 14,67,040 PPEs as of Sunday last. Of those, 10,93,119 PPEs have already been distributed. “Now 3,73,921 PPEs are there in the store,” he said.
He said 70 percent of the PPEs were collected locally, while the rest 30 percent imported from foreign sources, particularly China.
The CMSD director said N-95 mask is not available now. But masks ‘KN-95’, ‘FFP-2 or P-2’ are equivalent to N-95 in terms of the quality. The CMSD received a stock of two lakh such masks, which are now being distributed, he said.
The videoconference was arranged to discuss with the government officials and public representatives of eight districts --four under Dhaka division and four under Mymensingh division— the situation over coronavirus pandemic.
The eight districts are Kishoreganj, Tangail, Gazipur and Manikganj of Dhaka division, and Mymensingh, Sherpur, Jamalpur and Netrakona of Mymensingh Division.
PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus conducted the function, while Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim, PMO Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah and other high officials were present.
French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly on Monday emphasized mounting more pressure on Myanmar to take their Rohingya nationals back from Bangladesh.
"More pressure on Myanmar should be mounted," she said when she met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office.
PM's press secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
Karim said the French Minister assured her country’s support towards Bangladesh on Rohingya issue in the coming days.
She also highly appreciated Bangladesh for handling the crisis.
Florence Parly also said there are many things in common with Bangladesh and both the countries are working together in different sectors across the globe, especially in peacekeeping missions.
She expressed her keen interest to provide training in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Aviation and Aerospace University.
They also discussed the coronavirus situation in their respective countries and elsewhere in the world.
The Prime Minister said two of the three identified corona virus infected people in Bangladesh came from Italy. "The infected people have been isolated and kept in a hospital (for treatment)," she said.
Regarding celebration of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Hasina said it will be done in different ways considering the prevailing situation across the world caused by the corona outbreak.
In the defence sector, she said, the government has its highest priority to training and sought French assistance in this connection.
About the Bangabandhu Satellite, Hasina said the government will go for Bangabandhu Satellite-II as the lifetime of the satellite is 15 years.
She also said Bangladesh is happy with the existing cooperation in the area of defence between the two countries. "Bangladesh would be happy to see greater cooperation with France in this sector."
She also recalled with gratitude the support of French government, its people and leading intellectuals, including renowned novelist Andre Malraux, during the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Principal Staff Officer of Armed Forces Division Lieutenant General Mohammad Mahfuzur Rahman, Defence Secretary Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury and French Ambassador to Bangladesh Jean-Marin SCHUH were, among others, were present during the meeting.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday urged the women of the country to buildup themselves in order to be capable of being empowered.
"Empowerment cannot be attained by force, it’s the matter of attaining through own capability," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating the function of the International Women’s Day at Osmani Memorial Auditorium.
According to the United Nations Women, the theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”.
Sheikh Hasina said that power will never be handed over to them by any other person. "I will want my sisters to prepare themselves for that," she said.
Talking about rape incidents, she said that this is not a problem in Bangladesh alone, this is a global problem.
"I think that we need awareness, the men also need to step forward regarding this matter, because the rapists are men," she said.
She said that those involved in such animal like repression are the most heinous.
"I don’t want to call them humans. I want to call them inferior to animal. The whole society has to take steps against them," she said.
Saying that economic freedom is very crucial for women, she urged the womenfolk of the country not to sit idle at homes and stand on their own feet instead.
She said a woman can consolidate her position in society and family and none will dare to neglect her if she earns money through work.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has enacted necessary laws with a view to protecting women and children from all types of violence, keeping the provision for stringent punishment.
The laws, she said, included – ‘Women & Children Repression Prevention Act-2000’, ‘Child Marriage Restraint Act-2017’, Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2013, ‘Dowry Restraint Act-2018’, 'Child Marriage Prevention Act- 2017', National Women Development Policy 2011 and National Work Plan for Women Development 2013-25.
Mentioning that the country’s womenfolk are getting opportunities in every field, Sheikh Hasina said this success did not come overnight and for this “we had to struggle much”.
Elaborating her government’s measures for women development, she said the government has been implementing various projects and programmes to consolidate women’s empowerment, child protection and achieve gender equality
Assuming office after a gap of 21 years in 1996, she said, the Awami League government started designing different programmes for women development.
“We’ve increased maternity leave from 4 months to 6 months with salary and introduced the name of mother along with the name of father in every aspect,” she said.
She said women are now playing significant role in politics, diplomacy, education, art and culture, research, trade and commerce, sports and games, investigation and adventures.
At the outset of the speech, Sheikh Hasina paid rich tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and said that he ensured equal opportunity for women in the constitution through.
Sheikh Hasina also remembered Begum Sheikh Fazilatun Nesa Mujib, who worked for the country along with Bangabandhu all the time giving him inspiration, courage and suggestions.
“Bangamata arranged the marriage of the girl victims of the Liberation War whose families were unwilling to take them back,” she said.
She said Bangladesh is advancing socioeconomically, and this trend has to be maintained so that this pace must not be stopped.
State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Ministry Fazilantun Nessa Indira presided over the programme where Acting Country Representative of UN Women Shoko Ishikawa and Woman and Child Affairs Secretary Kazi Rowshan Akhter also spoke.
Earlier, the prime minister handed over “Joyeeta Sammanana” to five women for their outstanding contributions to their respective fields.
They are Mosammat Anwara Begum, Dr Suparna Dey Simpu, Mamtaj Begum, Auronika Meherin Ritu and Valerie Ann Taylor. Each of the recipients got crest, certificate and Tk 50,000 cheque.
At the function, a documentary on Bangabandhu and Women's Development was screened.
The Prime Minister also witnessed a colourful cultural programme.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday paid rich tributes to the great leader and greatest Bengali of all time Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing wreaths at his portrait at Dhanmondi-32 marking the historic 7th March.
The Prime Minister laid a wreath at the portrait of the great leader in front of the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in the capital at 7 am today.
At that time, the Prime Minister observed silence for some time showing respect to the architect of Bangladesh's Independence Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Later, flanked by senior and central leaders of Bangladesh Awami League, Sheikh Hasina placed another wreath at the portrait of Bangabandhu paying homage on behalf of the party.
Later, the leaders and workers of Awami League’s associate bodies, including Awami Jubo League, Chhatra League, Mohila Awami League, Sramik League, Krishak League, Jubo Mohila League and Swechchhasebok League, also paid homage to Bangabandhu by placing wreaths at his portrait on the occasion.
On this day in 1971, Bangabandhu through his historic address made a clarion call to the people to fight against the Pakistani occupation forces to achieve the long-cherished independence.
2017, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) recognised the historic March 7 Speech of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as a world documentary heritage.
On this day in 1971, Bangabandhu, the undisputed leader of Bangalees, had delivered his epoch-making speech of independence before a mammoth rally at the then historic Racecourse Maidan, now Suhrawardy Udyan, in Dhaka city.
In his 19-minute extempore speech before a million freedom-loving people, Bangabandhu had made a clarion call for a non-cooperation movement asking the nation to prepare for the War of Independence to liberate the country from the exploitative Pakistan regime.
“The struggle this time is for freedom, the struggle this time is for independence, Joy Bangla,” Bangabandhu declared from the massive rally.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday put immense importance to research on demand, production and marketing to flourish small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of the country.
"Research is urgently needed. Through the research, we can determine product demand, production and marketing. We’ve to do it and we’ll do it," she said while inaugurating the nine-day ‘8th National SME Product Fair 2020’ at the Krishibid Institution Bangladesh (KIB).
The SME Foundation organised the fair at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the capital to promote SME products and bring the local small and medium entrepreneurs under a single roof.
The Prime Minister said researchers have to find out the solution for mitigating the demand for raw materials for SMEs. "We have to ensure the source and supply of raw materials locally. We’ve to look for the method to produce all these raw materials in our own country," she said.
She said the demand for products is the other thing which should be given importance during the research work. "We’ve to point out the demand of buyers -- in which area they are looking for what kinds of products, what are the most demanded products. We’ve to produce those items," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said extensive research is urgently needed to figure out the overall matter.
She said the government is taking various initiatives to increase the purchase capacity of the people of the country aiming to expand the domestic market for locally produced products. "Keeping that in mind, we’re taking steps, we are working to materialise that," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said highest importance should be given to food processing industries.
"Because, the demand for food will surely be increased in the world. On the other hand, the more economic solvency will be achieved by the people, the more the demand for the processed foods and nutrition enriched foods will be increased. So, we have to put our focus on this sector," she said.
The Prime Minister urged SME owners to produce cent percent export-oriented goods and manufacture goods complementary to heavy industries considering demands of consumers.
She also urged them to create more domestic markets as well as find more new global markets for their products.
Sheikh Hasina underscored the need for flourishing the Blue Economy through SMEs and emerging as a partner of ‘Global Value Chain’ using the low cost of production in combination with modern technology.
She said many of the country’s SME products are of world standard and the cultural heritage of the country is also associated with those.
The Prime Minister hoped that Bangladesh will be able to keep pace with the 4th Industrial Revolution by ensuring better coordination among the digital, biological and physical innovative sectors.
"Considering all these issues, the government has taken various measures to increase domestic production, generation of employment opportunity and poverty alleviation," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said educated youths get employment opportunities through the SME Foundation and thereby poverty is reduced which in turn ensures prosperity of the country.
She also said the government is developing youths as skilled and trained manpower imparting them necessary training, she said, adding that no one can term Bangladesh as a country of cheap labours any more.
The Prime Minister urged youths not to run after jobs, rather start doing business and self-employment programmes taking loans from banks.
She said the SME Foundation has already identified 177 clusters of small and medium industries across the country and it is rendering entrepreneur training, low rate financing and developing new entrepreneurship services.
Sheikh Hasina assured them of providing all possible assistance for the development of SME clusters and enhancing necessary infrastructure facilities.
Referring to her government’s various steps of strengthening regional and sub-regional connectivity, she said Bangladesh has been working with neighbouring countries, including India, Nepal, Bhutan and China, to this end.
Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun presided over the inaugural ceremony.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Industries Amir Hossain Amu, Industries Secretary Md Abdul Halim and Managing Director of the SME Foundation Md Safiqul Islam, among others, spoke at the function.
The Prime Minister handed over the 'National SME Entrepreneurs Award-2020' among two female entrepreneurs and three male entrepreneurs. Each winner got Tk 100,000, a trophy and a certificate.
A total of 296 SME entrepreneurs, including 195 women, will exhibit their products, including jute, agriculture and leather goods, electric and electrical items, light engineering products, handicrafts and plastic and synthetics items at the fair.
There will be seller-buyer meeting booths, media centre and information stall apart from the display of SME products, and a blood donation programme will also be arranged at the fair venue.
Five seminars on the promotion of SME entrepreneurs and SME products will be organised during the fair.
The titles of the seminars at the fair are ‘Light Engineering Product Year 2020’, ‘Participation of SME Women Entrepreneurs in Export: Challenges and Potentialities’, ‘Role of SMEs in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Bangladesh,’ ‘Expansion of SME Product Marketing through Using Online Platform,’ and ‘Digital Finance for SMEs’.
The fair will remain open from 10am to 8pm every day until March 12 for visitors and there will be no entry fee.