Dhaka, Bangladesh
PM's latest push is to build graft-free administration

PM's latest push is to build graft-free administration

Gives a pat on health ministry's back for corona combat

News Report Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina put forth her government's latest push for building up a corruption-free administration in Bangladesh in a significant move that experts say needs a proper political backup. In her address to bureaucrats Thursday she indicated a system change as regards a graft-free high-performing administration. Her pledge, analysts say, upholds the spirit of the programme Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had launched against the backdrop of wrongdoings in different sectors. The prime minister asked the government officials and employees to undertake their own plan on ‘shuddhachar (integrity) and implement it effectively in order to achieve a clean image of the administrative setup. “We want to establish a graft-free administrative system in the country and you’ve to undertake your own plan on integrity and how you’ll execute it (plan),” she said while addressing the Annual Performance Agreement (APA) Signing Ceremony-2020. The prime minister also said this plan will go up to lower level and it will have to be executed effectively. “Those who could do it will be rewarded,” she added. The prime minister joined the function held at the conference room of the Public Administration Ministry through videoconferencing from her official Ganabhaban residence. Sheikh Hasina simultaneously directed the government officials and employees to work with self-confidence and stay always beside the people in their weal and woe. “When you do any work, do it with self- confidence … you cannot do any work if you pay heed to who, what said and who what wrote,” she said. The prime minister said there is a class of people in the country whose habit is to make criticism. “They’ll say many things about a little fault. But they won’t do anything,” she said. Sheikh Hasina said her government has given permission to many private TV channels and has implemented Digital Bangladesh, adding that propaganda (against the government) will continue through it. “But you (government officials and employees) will have to have your own trust and confidence in whether you are doing the right thing. If you’ve that confidence, the people will get its result … I want to say that,” she said. The prime minister said it is a responsibility of the government officials and employees to stay beside the people. “It’s also our responsibility as we came to power with people’s vote and we’re pledge-bound to them … those who do government job are also pledge-bound to the people to serve them". Turning to the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister gave a pat on the back of health ministry, deflating some idle criticisms. She said the ministry showed enough efficiency and the government has been able to keep under control the COVID- 19 as the primary works that were supposed to be done at that time were implemented properly. Many criticise the health ministry, but the ministry showed efficiency enough to prevent the spread of the lethal virus, she categorically said. “We’ll have to keep in mind that health professionals including doctors, nurses and health workers don’t sit idle, they are working with efficiency risking their life to combat the COVID-19." Sheikh Hasina said many doctors, nurses and health workers died while treating the corona patients. Besides, she said, officials of the administration, members of the armed forces and law- enforcement agencies alongside the leaders and activists of Awami League and its front organisations are also working with utmost sincerity to fight the disease and help people during this crisis. Mentioning that she is worried about the student community due to the coronavirus outbreak, the prime minister said it is hampering their study seriously. “Not only Bangladesh, the economy of the entire world has been stalled due to the pandemic and the people of whole world are suffering for it,” she said. Sheikh Hasina regretted that the pace of development works has slowed down in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. “There is no doubt that obstruction has been made on the way we are advancing. But we’ve to cross this hurdle and work by accepting it,” she said. “Disasters will come as Bangladesh is a disaster-prone country. But we’ve to advance by combating the calamities." Sheikh Hasina said the government announced a set of stimulus package which is equivalent to over four percent of country’s GDP. “No country declared such packages first before Bangladesh and we thank the finance ministry for this,” she said. “We’ve provided the incentive packages as well as cash wherever it is necessary by opening our hand, and as a result, the wheel of our economy remained operative,” she told the meet. The prime minister said they had announced Digital Bangladesh in 2008 in their election manifesto and the government is now completing their works by utilising information technology. Sheikh Hasina expressed her firm belief that Bangladesh would move ahead further and never look backward and urged all to work together to attain the goal. “Our advancement will continue and we will not move backward…we will build a hunger- and poverty-free Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Bangabandhu. To achieve the goal, I call upon all to work in unison,” she said. Extending her sincere thanks to all who successfully executed the APA, the premier said they had done an excellent work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which will remain an example in the world. “I thank those who got awards for the work and I want you to work the same way to achieve more awards in the days to come." The prime minister said her government in 2014-15 introduced the APA for ensuring transparency and accountability in government organisations. Referring to the successive military rule after the assassination of Bangabandhu in 1975, Sheikh Hasina said the administration does not have such transparency and accountability when the military dictators remain in state power. “Due to their dictatorial attitude, all is good what they do and others are bad and the people suffer from its bad results and they remain neglected. However, the dictators and their associates enjoy its benefits,” she said. Sheikh Hasina said the aim of her government is to free the people from neglect and serve them. “That’s why we’ve introduced the APA to bring institutional efficiency and the dynamism to work as well as to make government works result- oriented." Pointing out that the people are the owner of government property, she said: “Our aim is also to utilise the property properly and reach the services to people’s doorsteps.” “The aim of our development is the grassroots which the Father of the Nation also did. Bangabandhu in the constitution incorporated every basic right like education, healthcare services, infrastructural development,” she said. The premier also said the Father of the Nation also decentralised power to reach government services to people’s doorsteps. Sheikh Hasina said the government had drawn up massive programmes to celebrate Mujib Borsho marking Bangabandhu’s birth centenary. “But we could not celebrate it the way we wanted due to the COVID-19 outbreak." The prime minister said her party has taken programme to plant one -crore trees across the country alongside the government’s tree-planting campaign on the occasion of the Mujib Borsho. “We’ve to make arrangements so that a single person doesn’t remain landless or homeless … we’ll be able to reach electricity to every house within this year, Insha Allah,” she said. Senior secretaries and secretaries of the ministries and divisions signed the APA on behalf of their respective agencies at the function in the conference room of the Public Administration Ministry. The Power Division was recognised with crest and certificate as the best performer in the implementation of APA in 2019-2020 fiscal year, while the Agriculture Ministry and the Energy and Mineral Resources Division were adjudged second- best performer and third-best performer respectively. Besides, seven other ministries and divisions received certificates as recognition to their outstanding performance in the execution of the APA. The ministries and divisions are Water Resources Ministry, ICT Division, Information Ministry, Rural Development and Cooperatives Division, Fisheries and Livestock Ministry, Finance Division and Economic Relations Division. Senior Secretary of Internal Resources Division Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem received the integrity award for exercising integrity as the senior secretary of Energy and Mineral Resources Division during the 2019-20 fiscal year. The Public Administration Ministry was recognised as best in implementing the national integrity strategy successfully, while the Industries Ministry and the Labour and Employment Ministry as the second best and the Railway Ministry as the third best in the 2018-19 fiscal year. Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque, on behalf of the prime minister, handed over crests and certificates to the secretaries concerned for outstanding performances of their ministries and divisions in implementing APAs. State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain also spoke at the function conducted by Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam. With inputs from agencies, live coverage

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