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.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday congratulated Bangladesh Cricket team for their impressive ODI series win over touring Zimbabwe with a match in hand.
Bangladesh clinched the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe as the Tigers registered a 4-run victory in a thrilling contest during their second ODI at Sylhet International Stadium today.
Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday at her official residence Ganobhaban.
Briefing the media, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said the upcoming Bangladesh visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sub-regional connectivity and various bilateral issues were discussed.
Modi is scheduled to come to Bangladesh on March 17 to join the birth centenary celebration of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sheikh Hasina briefly described various programmes that have been taken to celebrate ‘Mujib Borsho’ (Mujib Year).
The press secretary said both sides also discussed coronavirus. Prime Minister Hasina said that Bangladesh already dedicated a hospital for coronavirus patients. Anyone found to be infected will be sent to that hospital.
Harsh Vardhan Shringla praised the economic development of Bangladesh and the readymade garments industry of the country.
PM's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Muhammad Imran and Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das were also present.
Later, a seven-member delegation from Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons (BCPS) led by its President Professor Quazi Deen Mohammad called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
They invited the Prime Minister to their upcoming convocation. They also thanked the Prime Minister for her important role in expanding medical education in the country.
PM's press secretary said that the BCPS delegation placed various problems regarding their profession and medical education in the country to the Prime Minister.
Senior Vice-President of BCPS Professor TIM Abdullah Al Faruque, Vice president Maj Gen Abdul Ali Mia and PM's personal physician Prof Dr ABM Abdullah were, among others, also present.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday directed all the ministries and divisions not to take any unnecessary programme with big budgets on the occasion of Mujib Borsho (Mujib Year).
The Prime Minister came up with the directive at an unscheduled discussion after the weekly cabinet meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office in the city, said Cabinet Secretary Khander Anwarul Islam while briefing reporters at the Secretariat.
“The Prime Minister said we (earlier) precisely asked every ministry and division to declare one of its notable programmes as one of Mujib Year with its normal budget,” said the Cabinet Secretary replying to a question from reporters.
“If there’s any exceptional activity (programme), then providing extra money could be considered. But it doesn’t need to take new programme with a big budget,” he quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
At the cabinet meeting, it was cited as an example that the Finance Division has taken a programme of Mujib Borsho declaring that it will ensure pension for six lakh pensioners at their doorsteps within December next, he said.
Like this programme of the Finance Division, a good programme can be declared as one programme of the Mujib Borsho, said the Cabinet Secretary.
Stressing that there is no need to take any new programme, the Prime Minister said if a ministry or division can ensure the wellbeing of people and better contribution to development of the country with the existing ones, it will be more synonymous with the Mujib Borsho.
She suggested making the usual programmes more effective on the occasion of the Mujib Borsho, said Anwarul Islam.
The Prime Minister laid emphasis on taking programmes maintaining coordination with the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Birth Centenary Celebration National Committee, said the Cabinet Secretary.
The Mujib Borsho celebration will begin on March 17 next and continue till March 2021 to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday vowed to build the Bangalee as a dignified nation with economic emancipation freeing it from hunger and poverty and ensuring tech-based knowledge.
"We want to build the Bengalee as a modern tech-based nation, ensuring its economic emancipation. We’ll build Bangladesh as a country free from hunger and poverty with technological knowhow for making the nation a dignified one in the world as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman," she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing a discussion organised by Awami League at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC), marking Amar Ekushey and International Mother Language Day.
She said the government is not only advancing the country economically but it has also given importance to technology-based education.
Sheikh Hasina, also the president of Awami League, said the government has ensured the scope to use various types of modern technologies, internet services and mobile phones.
She said Bangladesh is the only country in the subcontinent which came to being based on language. "Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman established the country."
She mentioned that Bangabandhu started the movement to establish Bangladesh as an independent country since 1948. "The ultimate goal of that movement was to liberate this land, parting way with Pakistanis," she said.
The Prime Minister said Bangabandhu took all of his moves very skillfully with political pragmatism.
She said the people of the country gave away their blood for the language, made supreme sacrifice for its independence. "Their sacrifice must not go in vein. We won’t allow their sacrifice go in vain…this is our commitment," she said.
Focusing on the history of the Language Movement, Sheikh Hasina said although February 21, 1952 witnessed the tragic incident, the movement for the mother tongue began much earlier.
She said Bangabandhu was sent to jail time and gain for his role in the Language Movement. “Bangabandhu had been kept behind the bars at a stretch from 1949 to 1952,” she said.
The Prime Minister said following Bangabandhu’s proposal, the State Language Action Council was formed comprising Chhatra League, Tamaddun Majlish and other student organisations in 1948.
This council had called a general strike on March 11, 1948 across the country, she said, adding that Bangabandhu was arrested while picketing in front of the Secretariat. “In the subsequent days, Bangabandhu was at the centre of all movements and struggles. For his involvement in the movements, Bangabandhu had to endure inhuman torture and persecution of the rulers,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said it was Awami League which included the provision of making Bangla as a state language after its victory in the 1956 general election. “The Awami League government had declared February 21 as the Language Martyrs’ Day and allocated fund for constructing Shaheed Minars,” she said.
Awami League leaders Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Matia Chowdhury, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Abdur Rahman, Dr Hasan Mahmud and AFM Bahauddin Nasim and Professor of economics at Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver Haider A Khan, among others, spoke on the occasion.
At the beginning of the programme, a one-minute silence was observed in memory of the martyrs of the Language Movement, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, martyrs of August 15, 1975 and Liberation War.