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Next election to be held in free, fair and credible manner: Momen

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Saturday urged all the political parties in the country to join the next general election saying that it would be held in a free, fair, transparent and credible manner.

“We believe the upcoming election will be held in a free, fair, transparent and credible manner …we invite all the opposition political parties to join the elections as they will have a level field,” he said.

The Foreign Minister said this while responding to a volley of questions from CNN Anchor and business editor at large Richard Quest at a session titled “Bangladesh Growth Story: What’s the future road map” held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC).

The session was a part of the three-day Bangladesh Business Summit, 2023 which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi was the other guest at the session.

Responding to the question from Quest on the government’s stance on polls, Momen said that the present government did an excellent job in this regard over the last 14 years as over 1,000 elections were held in a free, fair, transparent and credible manner during this period.

He said although there was fake voter list, but later voter ID cards were introduced while all the concerned institutions were developed in a transparent manner like the Election Commission has been made fully independent having its full authority.

Replying to another question, Momen said that the government is delivering ideas one after another like “Smart Bangladesh” from the “Digital Bangladesh”.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Minister also echoed with the Foreign Minister that the government is ready to go for the next general election.

When asked whether the government would be in Chinese debt trap in the coming days, the Foreign Minster replied in negative. “There is a perception in some people that Bangladesh will fall in the Chinese debt trap. But, there is no way to fall in such trap,”

He said that China is a friendly country and a development partner of Bangladesh.

“We’re in a pretty good state. So, there is no worry,” he said, adding that Bangladesh is also taking support from Japan and there is no talk over that.

Tipu also echoed with Momen saying that Bangladesh is in a good position although there is impact of the war.

He said that Bangladesh is in good position in terms of investment while the country has a good demographic dividend.

Tipu said the enrollment of primary education is now 97 percent, but still there is a need to emphasis on technical and vocational education.

“I’m very much optimistic. Bangladesh will not be in any such problem,” he added.

Asked about the Bangladesh’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine war, the Foreign Minister said that the motto of Bangladesh’s foreign policy is “Friendship to all, malice to none”.

He said that the government has been following non-aligned policies during this time while the government has supported the resolutions relating to territorial integrity, humanitarian help and ending war.

Replying to another question, Momen said, “Of course, we do condemn the war since we’re a peace loving country. We’re the number one troop contributing country to the UN. We want sustainable peace and therefore we’re promoting such philosophy across the neighbors…culture of peace, sustainable peace across the neighbors,”

Admitting that Bangladesh is passing through a challenging situation due to global conditions, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said despite such factors, the country’s export value did not decreased, rather increased, which indicates that there is value addition.

When asked about the possible change in the facelift of Bangladesh after five years, Tipu said that the country’s export target would be raised to $100 billion which is now $60 billion.

“I hope everything will be in the positive mood,” he added.

On the other hand, the Foreign Minister said that Bangladesh would be a different country then, it would also be a manufacturing hub.

He said Bangladesh is now a vibrant economy and many countries export their products to Bangladesh although the situation was not the same just after independence.

Momen, however, noted that climate change, impacts of pandemic and war are the major challenges that the country is now facing.

“But, we know how to handle… we’re trying our best with the support of our development partners,” he added.