Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday asked private banks to supplement the government's credit programme for small traders under its stimulus packages announced at offsetting the Covid-19's fallouts.
"The state-owned banks have been extending support to the credit programme," she said.
"In this case, if the private banks come forward, there is no doubt that they will be ultimately benefited once the trade and commerce starts in full swing after the present Covid-19 situation," she said.
Hasina said this while receiving donations virtually through a videoconference from her official Gono Bhaban residence.
Some 35 commercial banks under the Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB) provided 25.95 lakh blankets for the Prime Minister's Relief and Welfare Fund so as to aid the financially insolvent during the upcoming winter season.
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister's Office Dr Ahmad Kaikaus received the donations. Hasina said there was a programme on economic support for small traders at low interest rate.
"However, I think that the private banks need to be more sincere to this end…as you always stand beside the people and in this case you'll also have to stand beside them," she said.
The premier said the association always stood beside the people when any disaster struck the country.
Hasina said there could be more natural disasters in the country during the winter.
Expressing happiness over the donation, the prime minister said people would be immensely benefitted from it.
"I extend my sincere thanks to the BAB for this," she said.
Mentioning that the entire world, including Bangladesh, is witnessing a stalemate in all aspects due to the coronavirus, Hasina praised Bangladeshis for their courage and mental strength in facing the situation.
She also stressed the need for taking cautionary measures in Bangladesh.
She said everyone should stay alert so that a second wave of infections do not leave an adverse impact on the country's economy and hamper the livelihoods of people as well as bring the wheels of economy to a halt.
Hasina said the government was setting up 100 economic zones across the country and those provided scopes for massive investments.
Noting that the country's foreign currency reserve is over $40 billion, she said the government has a target to increase the reserve to $50 billion during the golden jubilee of the country's independence.
She said the government has taken up a plan to carry out some development works with its own finance and without borrowing anything from external sources.
"We can do many development works ourselves without borrowing from others. Or we can do the works with a loan from our banks…We've also taken measures to do at least some works with our own finance. You will know the details very soon," she said.
Noting that the government's goal is that no people will remain homeless and landless in the country in the Mujib Borsho, the prime minister asked the BAB representatives to help the homeless and landless people in their respective areas by providing houses to them.
"If there are any homeless or landless people in your areas, you can give them some houses," she said, adding that the government has been providing houses to the homeless and landless families.
"There will be no more poverty in our country, if we all work together and work in our own areas," she continued.
Hasina said the government has brought down the poverty rate to 20 per cent in the country, but the economic slowdown caused by Covid-19 hampered the pace of the poverty alleviation.
She, however, hoped that the government would be able to make a poverty and hunger-free Bangladesh and give the people a beautiful life.
Along with ensuring food security, the government's goal is to remove malnutrition, increase employment and revive the rural economy, added the premier.
"We have to increase the purchasing power and financial capacity of the people of the country, then the market for our products will be in our country," she said.