Taking confident steps to a vibrant economy
ON the auspicious occasion of the 23rd anniversary of our Independence and National Day, I extend my heartiest felicitations to all my countrymen both at home and abroad.
On this day, I join you all in paying homage to, and offering prayers for, the valiant freedom fighters and martyrs without whose great sacrifices our independence would not have been possible.
After long years of struggle, we have now re-embarked on the road to democracy.
We are continuing our efforts towards strengthening democratic traditions and institutions in Bangladesh, so that our people are never again made to suffer autocracy. We have already achieved remarkable progress in this respect.
The recently held free and fair elections in the four metropolitan cities clearly testify this fact.
Our democratically elected government, under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, has embarked on a policy of economic emancipation for the people of the country.
The Daal-Bhaat programme, which aims to provide lentils and rice for everyone, is already showing results. For the past three consecutive years, we have had record grain production and food prices are stable.
Large-scale economic reforms have started manifesting their benefits in increased export earnings, increased foreign exchange reserves and increased foreign investment in Bangladesh.
The stock exchange has already picked up speed and is attracting foreign capital. The private sector has picked up momentum. We are moving with firm strides towards a vibrant market economy.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our missions abroad have made significant contributions to our achievements over the years, by promoting our perceived national interests and priorities.
As you are all aware. our foreign policy is characterised by the philosophy of friendship for all and malice towards none.
We have consistently strived to strengthen good relations with all in our area and to resolve differences through friendly dialogue.
At the same time, we have continued to play an important role in promoting friendship and co-operation in the region as well as throughout the world.
As the current chairman of South Asian Association Regional Co-operation (SAARC), Bangladesh is attaching highest importance to poverty alleviation programmes as well as to early implementation of the South Asian Preferential Trading Agreement (SAPTA).
A. S. M. MOSTAFIZUR RAHMAN Foreign Minister of Bangladesh We earned greater prestige for the country through our continued and increased participation in UN peace-keeping efforts in different parts of the world.
Full commitment and respect for the United Nations' charter, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Non-Aligned Movement (Nam) and the Commonwealth remain a consistent element of our foreign policy.
The progress achieved has been possible because of both individual and collective efforts of all our countrymen at home and abroad.
But there is no room for complacence. We still have a long way to go. We have to continue our determined efforts to raise the standard of living of our people to an acceptable level. Each of us has to dedicate himself to his duty. The hopes and aspirations of our people will continue to guide our efforts.
On this day, as we re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of democracy, freedom and nation-building, I particularly call on our countrymen living abroad to further strengthen their efforts in building the image of our country in the societies they live in and to generously participate in the development process of our nation.
I wish all of you success, prosperity and happiness.