Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is hopeful that Bangladesh will be able to avert a full-blown economic crisis triggered by the aftershocks of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine even as developed nations grapple with the threat of recession, report agencies.
But the premier reiterated her call for austerity and the need to increase food production while addressing the 'Begum Rokeya Padak 2022' ceremony on Friday.
"The coronavirus pandemic, along with the Russia-Ukraine war and the raft of sanctions from America and Europe that followed have made life difficult for everyone. Our country isn't the only one suffering as developed countries are in an even worse situation," she said.
Prime Minister handed over the Begum Rokeya Padak 2022 to five women for their outstanding contributions towards society, women's education and women empowerment.
Sheikh Hasina distributed the Padak at a programme in the city's Osmani Memorial Auditorium, marking the 142nd birth and 90th death anniversary of Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain.
Rahima Khatun from Faridpur received the award this year for her contribution to women's education, Professor Kamrun Nahar Begum (Advocate) from Chattogram for her contribution to the establishment of women's rights, Farida Yasmin from Khulna for her special contribution to women's socio-economic development, Dr Afroza Parveen from Narail for her contribution to the enlightenment of women through literature and culture, and Nasima Begum from Jhenaidah for her contribution to rural development.
In her speech Hasina said the post of deputy leader in Parliament will be fulfilled by a woman again.
"We've almost fulfilled Begum Rokeya's dreams as we, four key persons, in Parliament- the Speaker, the Leader of the House, the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the House were women.
Unfortunately, our deputy leader Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury passed away a few days ago. We'll fulfill the vacant post by a woman again," she said.
The PM focused on her endeavours to ensure the presence of women in different sectors and posts, including the higher court, the armed forces, Border Guard Bangladesh, the posts of secretary, deputy commissioner (DC), superintendent of police (SP) and even Officer In-charge (OC) after formation of her government in 1996 and 2009.
"Today there is the presence of women everywhere," she said.
About economy she said, although the country has taken necessary measures to keep the economic headwinds at bay, more needs to be done in order to maintain stability, according to the Awami League chief.
Highlighting a surge in commodity prices in the wake of the conflict in Europe, she said, "I know that some people are suffering because of the increase in commodity prices. But this is due to an international situation. If we keep our production in order, we can sustain ourselves."
Despite the myriad challenges that lie ahead, Bangladesh will not be beholden to anyone and will instead use its own resources to forge ahead, Hasina said.
"If we all fulfil our responsibilities and are a bit frugal with our money, [we will be fine]. Many developed countries are declaring recessions but Bangladesh hasn't yet. I don't think we'll have to either because we will keep standing on our own feet and move forward."
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