Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government has been tirelessly working to face the Covid-19 pandemic and keep the country's economy running.
"We have been trying our best to do everything to face the pandemic and keep the country's economy running," she said.
The Prime Minister made the remarks while addressing a meeting of the Awami League's executive body at her official Ganabhaban residence here.
The premier said that the government has distributed relief and cash incentives to everyone, announced various stimulus packages, taken prompt health measures, and launched initiatives to increase food production to mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on people's livelihoods and the economy.
Sheikh Hasina, also the President of the ruling Awami League, thanked the party leaders and activists, along with its front and associate bodies, for risking their lives and standing by the people during the Covid-19 pandemic, cyclone Amphan and flood.
She prayed for the salvation of the departed souls of 522 leaders and activists, including lawmakers and cabinet members, who have succumbed to Coronavirus thus far.
The premier said that it is because the Awami League (AL) is in power that people have received the support they need from the government.
She added: "Many people could have died, and I cannot explain how much people would have suffered during the pandemic had any other party (rather than AL) been in power right now."
The prime minister said no other party and organization had come forward to stand beside the distressed people during the pandemic.
They (other parties, mainly BNP) are busy giving lip service, using broadcast and print media, she said, adding that her government has endorsed most of the electronic media.
The premier asked party officials to keep in touch with people at the grassroots level, saying, "The Awami League is with the people and will always remain with the people, as the party's only motto is to work for the people."
The premier spelled out the efforts made by her party, at risk to their own lives, in distributing relief to the distressed, creating public awareness of health guidelines, arranging burial services for Covid-19 patients, alongside cutting farmers' paddy to mitigate their plight.
"No other political party has made such a great sacrifice," she added.
Describing the Awami League as the party of the people, Sheikh Hasina said, "Standing beside the people during the pandemic has once again proved that the Awami League always remains beside the people."
She said her party's main strength is people's trust and confidence.
Sheikh Hasina called upon all the leaders and activists to continue the party's organisational activities, using the digital platform.
"Organisational strength is most important for a party. It is clear that the Awami League still remains well-organised at the grassroots level while its leaders and activists are working to help the distressed on the ground during the pandemic," she said.
The Prime Minister, however, acknowledged several ministries, particularly the Health Ministry and the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), for bringing the coronavirus situation under control through their synchronized efforts.
In this regard, she said, "There have been many discussions about the Health Ministry and the Directorate General of Health Services. But I must say that they promptly followed my directions. Thanks to their sincerity and dedication, we have been able to bring the coronavirus under control."
Taking into consideration the numbers of Covid-infected patients and ensuring their prompt treatment, the premier said her government had relaxed regulations to recruit 2,000 doctors, 3,000 nurses and technologists and had also made appropriate arrangements in hospitals.
She continued that they had even requested concerned authorities to arrange oxygen cylinders and set up ICUs at every district hospital.
The Prime Minister credited her government's efforts in keeping the country's economy moving, thereby achieving 5.6 percent GDP growth despite economic activities having been stalled across the globe due to the pandemic.
She said that they have announced a budget of over Taka five lakh crore without restrictions to keep the wheels of the economy moving.
"We've announced our national budget. We did not reduce it, rather, we have increased it from the previous budget. Placing a budget over Tk5-lakh crore was a tough job. We said that we will spend less, we will spend on what we need the most, and we placed the budget we needed to keep our economy in shape."
The premier also said they have announced stimulus packages for people of every profession - from day-labourers to farmers, small traders to industrialists - to keep the country's moving economy and ease people's sufferings.
She said they even disbursed cash incentives to people based on a carefully-prepared list, adding that they even gave money to expatriate Bangladeshi workers who had lost their jobs abroad.
The Prime Minister said her government has brought back many Bangladeshi expatriate workers from abroad as they had lost their jobs, and brought them under the purview of the stimulus packages.
Given that the global economy may face a food shortage resulting from the pandemic, she said her government has directed all concerned to increase food production.
The Prime Minister asked her party leaders and activists to stand by the people, and to stay true to the ideals of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who dreamt of changing the fate of his people by making Bangladesh a prosperous country.
"We have been trying heart and soul to materialize Bangabandhu's dream of making Bangladesh free from poverty and hunger. This is our main commitment during the "Mujib Borsho."
The Prime Minister reiterated her commitment that no landless or homeless people will remain homeless after the Mujib Year.