Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday (Mar 2) said the government is now prioritizing people’s livelihood, food, housing and vaccination in this Covid-19 pandemic time alongside the ongoing development agendas.
“Our main thinking is that the people would not face any suffering for food, housing and medical treatment due to coronavirus, rather they (people) can continue their livelihood smoothly without any economic hardship,” she said.
The premier made this remark while chairing the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) at NEC Conference Room in City’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, joining virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Referring to the ongoing abnormal situation rendered worldwide by the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, she said her government wants to lay more emphasis on food, housing and vaccination apart from other issues as all development works are not needed to be materialized immediately.
The PM said: “You (ministries and divisions) should keep running the development works with the funds allocated already... no additional fund is needed to be allocated at this moment.”
The NEC meeting was held Tuesday to clear the revised annual development programmes (ADP) for this current fiscal 2020-21 which was prepared on the basis of expenditure and additional allocation of different ministries and divisions.
The head of the government said the first round of inoculation is going on and the country will have to buy more Covid-19 vaccines for its nearly 17 crore people.
Mentioning that the government wants to bring under vaccination teachers and employees of the educational institutions along with other professions up to rural areas who deal with people directly, she said “I think more allocation is needed for vaccine procurement.”
Bangladesh has so far received 90 lakh vaccine doses as part of a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on Nov 5 and a subsequent agreement on Dec 13 last year among Bangladesh government, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Serum Institute of India (SII).
Bangladesh has procured three crore doses of Oxford University-AstraZeneca invented vaccine manufactured by SII. Besides, the Indian government has sent 20 lakh doses as gift.
In addition, Bangladesh will get more vaccines under the COVAX programme, led by the World Health Organization and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The PM said the government is pulling the country ahead amid the abnormal situation caused by the Coronavirus and she extended her gratitude to all people as they have worked sincerely with competency to turn the country into a developing nation.
She said they are able to contain the pandemic to some extent in the country but the virus appears stronger after mutation in somewhere so “we have to protect our country and people from it”.
Briefly highlighting different initiatives taken by the government to offset the impact of Covid-19, Sheikh Hasina said their efforts to keep the wheels of the country’s economy rolling on have worked well and that is why Bangladesh has been acknowledged as a developing nation.
She asked the authorities concerned of different ministries and divisions to be more prudent in spending money to keep running the ongoing development works.
“You have to keep in mind that Bangladesh is now a developing nation. So, we can’t seek support from anyone rather our country will move ahead depending on its own feet maintaining self-esteem,” she added.