President Abdul Hamid today told the parliament that opposition parties will have to play a constructive role in maintaining transparency, accountability, tolerance to others' views, human rights, consolidation of the rule of law, and the march forward of the nation.
"I call upon all irrespective of their status as treasury or opposition members to play their due role in the Jatiya Sangsad," he said while delivering his speech at the inaugural sitting of the maiden parliament session of 2021.
"Come, let us all repay the debt of blood of millions of martyrs through establishment of an exploitation-free society by shunning the differences of party, paths and opinions," Abdul Hamid also said.
Saying that the Jatiya Sangsad is the focal point of all hopes and aspirations of the people, Abdul Hamid said, "I would like to make a clarion call to all political parties, and people irrespective of classes and professions, to take a collective initiative for building consensus on democratisation, good governance and unhindered socioeconomic development."
According to the constitutional obligation, the President is scheduled to deliver his speech at the inaugural sitting of the first session of the New Year. The cabinet earlier approved the President's speech.
"We all have to work unitedly for eliminating corruption, drugs, terrorism and militancy from the country by upholding the spirit of Liberation War in order to build the 'Sonar Bangla' dreamt of by Bangabandhu," he added.
Abdul Hamid read out the abridged version of his speech in order to save time. The full speech has been placed on the table.
In the written speech, Hamid said, "All-out efforts have been continued by the government to uphold the rule of law in the country..."
Saying that all sectors of our economy including education, health, trade and commerce, employment, small and cottage industries have been negatively affected by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Hamid said the Prime Minister issued multi-dimensional directives through virtual conferences that included a 31-point guideline on how to combat the situation.
"Not a single person in the country was kept unfed during the corona-infected times because of free distribution of food, sale of rice at Taka 10 per kg and distribution of cash money."
Bangladesh has been tackling the coronavirus situation successfully due to the well-timed and courageous decisions taken by the Prime Minister, Hamid asserted.
He said although the country's export earnings recorded negative growth during the previous fiscal year due to trade war between the USA and China, fall in prices of fuel oil and the global pandemic, exports have returned to the mainstream growth trend from the start of current financial year.
On the health sector, Abdul Hamid said, "The government has made unprecedented progress in ensuring healthcare services for all. The biggest achievement of the government has been successful control of Covid-19 in recent times."
Two thousand physicians and 5,054 nurses were recruited on an emergency basis for confronting the coronavirus situation. Arrangements were made for keeping 10,525 ordinary beds, 666 ICUs, 73 dialysis beds, 554 ventilators, 13,516 oxygen cylinders, 678 high-flow nasal canola and 639 oxygen concentrators in Covid-19 dedicated hospitals, he explained.
About the government's efforts to procure Covid-19 vaccine, Hamid said, "I am optimistic that the government will soon be able to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to the people."
He said arrangements were made for the return of about 150,000 expatriate Bangladeshis as well as proper repatriation of around 30,000 foreigners to their home countries in the wake of Covid-19.
The President said the immortal March 7 speech of the greatest Bangalee of all times, the Father of the Nation Bangabadhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his life and ideals should be followed by all freedom-seeking people of the world including the Bangalees.
"Bangabandhu and Bangladesh are inseparable entities. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is a legend. He became the principal leader of the movement for self-determination of the Bangalees through his uncompromising leadership, firm determination and sacrifice," he added.