Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said the government now looks to further boost exports of processed agro products as part of its endeavour to trigger economic solvency for all, especially those in villages.
"We are now focusing on how we can store our crops properly under temperatures as per requirements after harvesting those from agricultural land and load them into export cargos ensuring no damage," the Premier said while replying to a question at a media briefing on Monday.
The press conference was arranged in PM's official residence, Ganabhaban, to inform the media about the outcomes of her recent visit to the United States. She joined the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The PM said, "We are developing 100 economic zones. We will process crops as per yields in a particular region. If we can process more, we will earn more foreign currencies."
From harvesting to loading into air freights, there should not be any damage to agro products in any stage, Sheikh Hasina said.
The government will have to build a cargo village with different storage chambers, she also said.
Exports of ICT and digital devices and agro-products will drive the country's economy to its cherished destination, making Bangladesh a solvent nation, the prime minister also said.
The PM said "We have to procure agricultural produce directly from cropland and for that, we need our own cargoes [to minimise crop waste]. We have already informed Biman about our requirement."
Talking about food security, she said Bangladesh is conducting its own research and has also kept contact with international research firms to boost food production.
In FY21, Bangladesh's agriculture product export clocked a $1 billion mark for the first time.
Talking about vaccine production in Bangladesh, the PM said the government is preparing to go for vaccine production as it has already procured 10 acres of land for setting up a manufacturing plant.
EC to be formed by President's search committee
Sheikh Hasina said the Election Commission will be formed through the President's search committee for the upcoming national elections.
Referring to BNP's participation in the next polls, Sheikh Hasina said BNP wants to make the next general election controversial, knowing that there is no chance for them to win it.
"They know they do not have any possibility of winning the election. So, their effort is to make it controversial, create confusion among people and harm people by any means," she said.
"They know they will not win. How does a party win? Where is its leadership? One is convicted for misappropriating the fund of orphans and another is a fugitive as he is convicted for the 21 August grenade attack and 10-truck arm-haul cases. They are still there in the [party] leadership. If this is the case, under which consideration would people vote for them?" she questioned.
Rohingyas seemingly a business to some people
Referring to a potential reason for the stalemate in the Rohingya repatriation, the prime minister said some people have made a business out of refugees.
"For some of them, refugees are just a business," she also said.
"If there were not any refugees, they would not have jobs. Nobody wants to say it out loud, but I will."
"Many have come to us proposing that they want to do something for the Rohingyas. I tell them to go to Myanmar and build houses and schools for them. You do not have to do anything here," she said.
The prime minister said she was disappointed with the international response to Bangladesh's repeated requests for help in repatriating the displaced Myanmar nationals to their own country.
Crimes, human smuggling and drug trafficking are rising in Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar, the PM said, adding, "It is difficult to stop the crimes."
PM vows to punish e-commerce fraudsters, recover money
Replying to a question over errant e-commerce companies' embezzlement of Tk21,000 crore, Sheikh Hasina said the government will take stern action against those involved in swindling the money on the pretext of digital commerce.
They will also take steps to recover the money, she added.
"Some people try to cheat people by capitalising on their bad times. They [fraudsters] will definitely be brought to book," she said.
"We arrested them instantly and we will also find out where they have kept the money and what assets they have made. We will give customers money back whenever we get it," she added.
The government has done whatever it can do, Hasina said, calling upon journalists to expose the scams at the outset and alert the public.
Pointing to the government's efforts in bringing back some of the money laundered by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's late son Arafat Rahman Coco, she added, "We are trying to bring back more of such funds."
Commission on military officers' killing during Zia's regime should be formed
Sheikh Hasina said measures should be taken for the formation of a commission to hold trials of the killings of the military officers and soldiers during military dictator Ziaur Rahman's rule.
"As a demand has been raised about the matter [formation of a commission], I think a step should be taken to this end," she said.
Expressing her resentment over not raising the demand for constitution of such a commission much earlier, she said mass awareness about the tragic incidents should be built.
The premier, however, said it was positive that people are becoming aware about the issue even though many years have passed.
Talking about the "targeted attack" on the car of British MP and the premier's niece Tulip Siddiq, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the British government will handle the matter.
"As the incident took place in England, the British government will take care of the matter," said the prime minister in response to a question on whether the government would take any action against the attack.
She said anti-liberation groups abroad are active to plot against the country. They even tried to tarnish her image by chanting slogans against her during her visit to New York on the occasion of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
On 30 September, vandals smashed the window of Tulip's car and scrawled a political message on its roof while the vehicle was parked outside of her family home in England.