Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday (May 24) met Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani at Amiri Diwan in Doha. Different issues, particularly bilateral cooperation on energy, business, investment and Bangladeshi manpower, as well as Muslim Ummah, development of Bangladesh prominently came up in the discussion. “The meeting was held in a very warm environment,” said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at a press briefing in the Qatar capital, local media reported.
About energy, the Amir of Qatar said the negotiation of signing a new contract over the larger supply of energy from Qatar to Bangladesh remains pending for a few months. “I promised you that I, being the Amir, will extend all sorts of facilities to you as you are a friendly country,” he was quoted.
Dr Momen said it (the promise) is a big achievement for Bangladesh, adding that this fresh contract might soon be signed anytime.
Now, Bangladesh is importing some 40 containers of energy that means 1.8-2.5 million tons per annum (MTA) as per a 15-year contract signed in 2017. But now Bangladesh seeks larger supply of LNG from Qatar.
Praising Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, the Amir of Qatar said that they once knew that Bangladesh was a disaster and poverty-stricken country. But when Sheikh Hasina came in power, she removed food deficit from Bangladesh.
In this context, the PM said her government brought down the poverty rate to 18.5 percent from 41 percent and the extreme poverty rate to 5.6 percent from 25 percent in the last fourteen and a half years. “I’ve made Bangladesh free from poverty. Poverty is a curse,” she was quoted.
Sheikh Hasina said her only goal is to turn Bangladesh into a developed country as dreamt by her father (the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman).
“We’ve progressed to some extent. But my work has not finished. I want to work more. But I alone can’t do it. I seek your assistance. I need more investment. I have opened my country. You can come with investment for mutual benefits,” Sheikh Hasina was quoted.
Sheikh Hasina invited Amir of Qatar to visit Bangladesh, if possible within this year. In response, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani said he would definitely visit Bangladesh possibly within this year.
Talking about the Muslim Ummah, the PM said the Muslim countries get engaged in conflicts on trivial matter in some cases, which is a barrier for the unity of Muslim Ummah. She requested the Amir of Qatar to work for the unity of Muslim Ummah and the development of the world Muslim community. In reply, the Amir said he may not be able to make the Mulim Ummah united, but he will have endeavours in this regard so that the Muslim Ummah progress further.
About the fear of losing jobs among Bangladeshi workers in Qatar now, the Amir said now 370,000 Bangladeshi expatriates are staying who are blessings for Qatar.
Qatar is going to take new projects and the Bangladeshi people will stay here as they are industrious and sincere to their job. “We’re very happy with Bangladeshis,” he was quoted.
Dr Momen reiterated that the meeting was very warm. “This is significant even the Amir of Qatar received the premier from her car,” he said.
Later, the PM visited Awsaj Academy, a specialized school for the children with special needs, which runs under Qatar Foundation in Doha. Sheikh Hasina visited several classrooms of the academy. There are some 500 students aged 3 to 25 years and 185 teachers in the Awsaj Academy. Artworks drawn by its students were presented to the Bangladesh PM. She also gifted four artworks drawn by Bangladeshi autistic children to the academy. At the time, the PM sought assistance from Qatar over training for teachers of such schools and early detection of autistic children in Bangladesh.
The authority assured that they can train Bangladeshi teachers through a virtual platform, said Dr Momen.