Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday asked the businesspeople and industrialists to pay at least the cost of generation and procurement of electricity and gas if they wanted to avail uninterrupted supply of the energy.
‘If you want uninterrupted electricity and gas, then you have to pay the production cost or procurement cost at least. How long we will provide subsidy?,’ she said.
The PM was inaugurating the 27th edition of the ‘Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF)-2023’ where Bangladesh-made products will be on display for promotion in the international market.
Commerce ministry and the Export Promotion Bureau organised the month-long largest annual commercial and trade event of the country at its permanent venue – ‘Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Centre ‘‘ – at Purbachal on the outskirts of the capital.
Hasina said that the government could not provide huge subsidy on electricity and gas for unlimited period that comes from the pockets of the mass people.
‘We cannot give such huge amount of public money as subsidy, so businessmen and industrialists have to pay attention to this matter,’ she said.
At the programme, the PM declared jute and jute products as the Product of the Year 2023.
She said that once jute was called the golden fibre of the country.
She mentioned that the demand of jute would never end and the jute products are environment friendly.
‘We have been able to invent the jute genome, so we can produce so many products,’ she said.
Hasina also mentioned that jute was an all-purpose crop and product and every part of it – from leaves to sticks – can be used.
‘So we have to give importance to jute. We have opened up our public jute mills and anyone can take lease one of these mills,’ she said.
In this regard, she said that the lessee could operate these mills directly or induct modern technology to produce diversified items.
‘You can do your marketing across the globe as demand of the environment-friendly products is increasing day by day. You have to take that opportunity,’ she said.
The prime minister said that the government would introduce 5G for the 100 economic zones across the country.
‘We have inducted 4G service and will surely introduce 5G service, but this will be done for the 100 economic zones as this service (5G) is not required for all areas. This is applicable for the economic zones,’ she said.
She said that the government was taking steps towards that.
She asked all concerned to put emphasis on IT and IT enabled services.
The PM once again put priority on finding new markets and products for diversifying the export basket of the country.
‘Our export items are limited, we are depended on very few export items, this have to be diversified, I am repeatedly saying that the more we will be able to diversify our products, the more we will find new markets, the more we will be able to expand our business and incomes,’ she said.
Hasina put emphasis on establishing food processing industries to tap the immense potentials of these items around the world.
‘The demand of food items will not shrink, it will always increase,’ she said.
Later she visited various pavilions and stalls of the Fair.
A documentary on the country’s overall economic development was screened at the event.
Commerce minister Tipu Munshi, textiles and jute minister Golam Dastagir Gazi , commerce secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry Md Jashim Uddin and EPB vice chairman AHM Ahsan also spoke at the programme.