Some sectors reopening in Bangladesh

THE DAILY STAR/ANN – Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the government was trying to reopen some sectors gradually so that the poor could earn their livelihoods.

“We’re trying to reopen some [sectors] gradually. We’re taking measures so that people can earn their livelihoods because this is the holy month of Ramadhan,” she said while receiving donations for her relief and welfare fund.

Over 55 government, private organisations, and educational institutions gave donations to the Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund to help the poor affected by COVID-19 fallout.

The Prime Minister said, “We know people are suffering a lot. We’ve been trying our best to reach them food on their doorsteps.”

“Since the paddy of this season has almost been harvested, people are not supposed to suffer that much (from food shortage), she said, calling upon farmers who got huge paddy to stand by the poor during this crisis.

Trainees work at Snowtex garment factory in Dhamrai, near Dhaka, Bangladesh. PHOTO: AP
A sales representative arranges clothes on display at a shop following a limited opening of shopping malls during a government-imposed lockdown in Dhaka. PHOTO: AFP

Noting that the country’s economy has been badly affected by COVID-19 pandemic, Hasina said the people who worked as labourers lost their work.

“Many people have become jobless in our country. It’s difficult for them to make a living, though we’ve been trying our best to help them,” she said.

Referring to huge rice production this season, the Prime Minister said there was no scarcity of food, and the government was distributing rice massively in the country.

She thanked the activists of Awami League and its associate bodies – Bangladesh Chhatra League, Jubo League, Krishak League, and Swechchasebok League – for joining farmers in harvesting their paddy.

Hasina said the sign of a possible worldwide famine caused by coronavirus outbreak was now visible.

“So, the government has paid special attention to ensuring food security at least for the country’s people at this tough time.”

She reiterated her call to people not to keep an inch of the land uncultivated.

Hasina said she has asked the agricultural minister to take steps for continuing production of different types of crops and vegetables across the country to ensure food security so that famine could never be seen in Bangladesh, and the country could help others, if necessary.

Talking about poverty reduction, she said the government gained a massive success in alleviating poverty. It had been expected that Bangladesh would be a poverty-free country during the celebration of Mujib Borsha and the golden jubilee of the country’s independence in 2021, she said.

But coronavirus has come as a big blow and hindered it (the progress in poverty reduction), Hasina said expressing the hope that Bangladesh would go forward overcoming this obstacle as well in the future.