Giving credit to people for meeting the eligibility criteria for Bangladesh's graduation to a developing country, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the people can achieve anything.
“It is an achievement of the people of Bangladesh. I think the country's people are the main source of all power. They can achieve anything,” she said.
The PM was addressing a reception accorded to her at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) for the government's achievement of meeting the eligibility criteria for the country's graduation from the LDC group.
The event was organised as part of the government's five-day programme to celebrate the achievement.
Hasina said it was an achievement of those people who worked together and contributed to the country's development. She stressed the need for maintaining the pace of development.
She urged all to work for the country so that people can live with their heads held high. “We want to live as a proud nation.... We liberated our country through a struggle and we have proved that we can stand on our own feet.”
The PM said had the people not stood by her and brought the Awami League to power, it would not have been possible for her and the government to work for the country and make this remarkable achievement.
“To me, power is nothing but an opportunity to serve the country and its people. I never believed that power is for personal gain.”
Bangladesh's eligibility to graduate to a developing country has opened up the door of its potential to emerge as a developed and prosperous nation, she added.
Hasina said after assuming office in 1996, the AL government undertook various people-oriented development projects in a planned way, and such steps made it possible to meet the eligibility criteria to graduate from the LDC group.
Due importance was given to starting the development process from the grassroots level, she said, adding that such efforts helped ensure sustainable progress towards eliminating poverty.
She remembered with gratitude Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, saying he had struggled throughout his life to change the people's fate.
Greeting the people, Hasina said her government showed the way while all the others concerned, including the government officials, private organisations and the business community, made the impossible possible.
She expressed gratitude to the development partners and foreign friends for providing and continuing support to the government's development efforts.
Terming Bangalee a heroic nation, she said they do not want to live as a nation of beggars; rather they want to live with dignity and with their heads held high.
UN Under-Secretary General Fekitamoeloa Katoa also spoke at the programme, chaired by Finance Minister AMA Muhith. A written statement of UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner was read out.
The finance minister handed over the UN's certificate of recognition to the PM.
Hasina unveiled a commemorative stamp and a commemorative note on the occasion.
The UN secretary general and the chiefs of the World Bank, ADB, USAID and Jica delivered speeches of appreciation through video messages.
Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, State Minister for Information Tarana Halim and Information Secretary Abdul Malek handed over a photo album on “Ten Special Initiatives of Sheikh Hasina” to the premier.
Hasina was greeted with bouquets on behalf of President Abdul Hamid, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain. Officials from the respective offices handed over the bouquets.
Flower bouquets were also presented to the PM on behalf of the AL, 14-party alliance and other political parties. Leader of the Opposition Raushan Ershad greeted the PM by presenting her with a flower bouquet.
Civil and military officials, freedom fighters, educationists, journalists, businessmen, artistes and singers, NGOs, labour, sports and women organisations also greeted the PM.
A documentary was screened at the function highlighting the country's progress and the ongoing development projects.
Ministers, PM's advisers, lawmakers, civil and military officials, political leaders, diplomats, representatives of the civil society and different professional bodies were present.
Earlier, on her arrival at the BICC, Hasina paid her profound respect to the Father of the Nation by placing a wreath at the portrait of the great leader.
The UN's Committee for Development Policy (CDP) on March 15 officially declared Bangladesh eligible for graduating from the LDC and handed over a letter in this regard to Bangladesh's Permanent Representative to the UN Masud Bin Momen the following day.
According to the UN's graduation thresholds set at the triennial review in 2015, gross national income (GNI) per capita of a country has to be $1,242 or above to be grouped within the “developing country” category. Bangladesh's GNI per capita rose to $1,610 at the end of 2016-17 fiscal.
The GNI per capita is the value of a country's final income in a year divided by its population. It reflects the average income of a country's citizens.
On the other two indexes, human assets and economic vulnerability, a country has to score 66 or above and 32 or below respectively.
Bangladesh's score in the human assets index stood at 72.9 and the economic vulnerability index at 24.8, meaning the country met all the criteria.
Bangladesh, however, will have to maintain the thresholds for the three indices till the country's graduation from the LDC category, which the UN will declare in 2024.