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Don’t run after power and money, PM to ministers

  • Published at 02:58 pm January 21st, 2019
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses the new cabinet at its first meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Dhaka on Monday, January 21, 2019 Focus Bangla

The premier makes the remarks in her introductory speech at the maiden meeting of her new cabinet

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the new cabinet to work with sincerity and honesty to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the people who re-elected the Awami League with a huge mandate.

“You will have to work with utmost honesty and sincerity to achieve our goal of establishing Bangladesh as a hunger and poverty-free developed and prosperous country,” she said in her introductory speech of the first meeting of the 47-member cabinet on Monday, reports BSS.

The meeting, chaired by Hasina was held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) at Tejgaon, Dhaka in the morning, two weeks after the Awami League formed the government for a third consecutive term.

Addressing the ministers, Hasina also sounded a warning, saying: “Despite much discussion and criticisms, I created this cabinet with you all, putting my trust in you.”

“Prove that I did not make a mistake by choosing you by working with honesty and sincerity. If you cannot do that, then I will not achieve my goal. Many will start making comments about this,” she said, according to several ministers.

The prime minister said that there were responsibilities and duties of the government towards the people who voted the Awami League government to power for the third consecutive time. “We are here to perform that duty, and the power of honesty is endless — we have proved that many times.”

She said that the country would advance further if the cabinet worked with sincerity and honesty.

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But if that does not happen, the prime minister added: “I will have to listen to people saying this happened because I introduced inexperienced ministers.

“That’s why I’m urging you to work with honesty. There will be time to gather power and money. But if you only run after that, you will be marked bad forever.”

She also said that the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was to bring smile on the faces of distressed people.

“That is also our desire, we will work with that desire, we will fulfil that desire, we will build a Bangladesh free from hunger and poverty,” she added.

Hasina said that the pace of progress and development that the Awami League initiated in its two past terms must be advanced in the coming days.

She said her previous governments have successfully finished many projects, while many mega schemes were under implementation. “The new cabinet will maintain the continuation of those works.”

9th Wage Board review panel reformed

The cabinet on Monday also approved a proposal to reconstitute the cabinet committee on reviewing the report on the Ninth Wage Board for journalists and employees working in newspapers and news agencies.

The new cabinet also appointed Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader as the head of the seven-member committee, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told reporters at the secretariat after the meeting, reported BSS.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses the new cabinet at its first meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Dhaka on Monday, January 21, 2019 | PID

The other committee members are Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzak, Information Minister Hasan Mahmud, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, and State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian, Shafiul said.

He said although the committee has been reconstituted, its terms of reference would remain the same.

If the committee cannot submit its report by January 28, the designated deadline, it can take more time, he added.

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The cabinet on December 3 had formed a five-member committee, with the then cultural affairs minister as its head, to review the report on the Ninth Wage Board submitted to the government, proposing a new structure for salaries and other benefits for journalists and employees working in newspapers and news agencies.

The committee had been asked to submit its report immediately as there was an obligation to publish the gazette on the wage board by January 28.

President’s inaugural speech for parliament cleared

At Monday’s meeting, the cabinet also approved the draft speech to be delivered by President Md Abdul Hamid at the inaugural session of the 11th parliament on January 30, reports UNB.

The 75,000-word speech will be placed in the House, but the president will read out a shorter, 6,000-word version, the cabinet secretary told reporters. 

The cabinet also cleared the drafts of the Brick Manufacturing and Brick Kiln Establishment (Control) (Amendment) Bill, 2018, the National Social Welfare Association Bill, 2018, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Land Acquisition) Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

‘Quota for people with disabilities in govt jobs unchanged’

After the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Shafiul also told reporters that the quota for people with disabilities in government job recruitment will remain unchanged.

“The law on the quota system is yet to be changed. Our administrative orders cannot supersede the law,” he said in response to a reporter’s question.

Regarding the quota for people with disabilities in government recruitment, Shafiul said: “The quota is as it was before.”

The government had formed a committee, led by Shafiul, to review the quota system in government job recruitment after nationwide protests by students and jobseekers began in April last year.

Subsequently, the cabinet approved a set of recommendations from the committee, removing quotas in first and second class government jobs late last year.

At Monday’s meeting, the cabinet also cleared the draft of the National Action Plan on Disability, to address the needs of people with disabilities.

The plan is based on the Persons with Disabilities Rights and Protection Act 2013, and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2015.