Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said Bangladesh's graduation from the group of the least developed countries (LDCs) to a developing one stemmed from her government's relentless efforts, planning and hard work over the last 12 years.
"The people of the country did all these things. Staying in government, we just gave policy support to create the scope. It's a historic moment and a moment of pride for the nation," she said.
The premier was speaking at a virtual press conference marking the UN's final recommendation for Bangladesh's graduation from the LDC group.
She joined the event, held at the Shapla Hall of the Prime Minister's Office, from the Gono Bhaban.
Hasina strongly hoped Bangladesh would get its place as a dignified country at the world stage following its graduation to a developing nation.
She extended heartiest congratulations to the Bangladeshis at home and abroad for achieving this feat.
"Father of the Nation Bangabandhu had turned Bangladesh into a least developed country lifting up the war ravaged country in just three and a half years' time. And Bangladesh Awami League -- a party founded at the hands of the great leader -- established the country as a developing nation in this Golden Jubilee year of its independence," she said.
In her written speech, the premier gave credit to the people of the country for this saying the coordinated efforts of all made the milestone achievement possible.
The PM said being the daughter of the Father of the Nation, she felt proud of this achievement as she herself remained engaged in the process of development strides.
"UN Committee for Development Policy reviews the issue of a country's graduation from LDC based on income per capita, human assets, and economic and environmental vulnerability," Hasina said.
In continuation of Bangladesh's fulfillment of these criteria in the first triennial review meeting of the CDP in 2018, Bangladesh also met all the three criteria this year for graduation from LDC to a developing country, she added.
Highlighting various economic indices, the PM said Bangladesh's GDP now rose to $330.2 billion, and export income to $40.54 billion, while foreign reserves already reached $44.03 billion.
Besides, Bangladesh has already been self-reliant in food, fish, egg, meat, and vegetable production, while it is the third country in the world in terms of paddy production, she said.
The premier said today's Bangladesh is not what it was 12 years ago. Ninety-nine percent people have been brought under electricity coverage, digital services have been expanded up to the marginalised people in villages, and a revolutionary change has taken place in the ICT sector through Bangabandhu Satellite, she said.
"Considering all these achievements, Bangladesh is now a changed country in the world."
Talking about the novel coronavirus pandemic, Hasina said the year 2020 was a critical year not only for Bangladesh but also for the entire world due to pandemic.
She, however, mentioned that the government has been able to keep the national economy moving by taking various steps like giving financial assistance and stimulus packages to affected groups.
The PM said the vaccination drive has already begun across the country with a total of 28,50,940 people getting vaccinated as of Thursday.
3CR MORE SHOTS TO BE BROUGHT HOME
Responding to queries from journalists, Hasina said the government was carrying out the vaccination campaign so that everyone can take shots as per the WHO guidelines.
"I've already instructed [the authorities] to bring home another three crore doses of vaccines. We are taking steps so that the second doses are available with the completionof the first-dose vaccination."
The PM said the government was taking measures so that no one was left unvaccinated.
She said she has not yet taken the Covid-19 vaccine, but would take it for sure.
"I will surely take the vaccine, but I want the people of the country to take it first. If one life can be saved with my vaccine, that's the big achievement. Isn't it?"
Hasina said she wants to see first how many people can be brought under the vaccination coverage. "We have a target. We will provide vaccine up to that level. If any vaccine dose is left after that, I will take my one."
The premier also said if any country is unable to produce the vaccine, then Bangladesh will do that. "I have already asked the pharmaceutical companies, which are capable of producing vaccines, to get ready. We're looking for bringing the vaccine seed."
She said she has asked the teachers and others involved with educational institutions to take vaccine as the government is trying to resume academic activities very soon.
Asked about the "magic" behind keeping economic activities vibrant alongside keeping people safe during the pandemic, Hasina said it was not a magic at all. "It is the sincerity and our responsibility to the country and its people."
The premier expressed her firm optimism that Bangladesh would soon be established as a developed, prosperous and dignified country at the world stage if the pace of development continued.
The youngest daughter of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Rehana, was also present at the press conference.
Earlier, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal handed the UN recommendation to the PM at the Gono Bhaban.