No plan to raise retirement age, PM tells JS


Leader of the House and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government has no plan right now to raise further the retirement age in the government service.

“The more we’ll raise the age bar, the scope for entering government jobs will be declined further. So, we don’t want to reduce that scope,” she said replying to a supplementary question from Jatiya Party lawmaker M Fakhrul Imam (Mymensingh-8) during her scheduled question-answer session in the house.

She, however, said that her government may consider the matter in future.

Sheikh Hasina said it was the Awami League government which first raised the age limit for retirement from the government service to 59 years from the previous 57 years while the age of retirement for the freedom fighters was further raised to 60 years.

She said due to such increase of retirement age, a problem was created as many public servants could not get due promotions for which many of them had to leave their jobs.

“If we raise the retirement age all on a sudden, then the scope for promotion in the lower tier will decline. Secondly, Bangladesh is a country of over 16 crore people and we’ll have to expand the scope of jobs for them,” she added.

The Leader of the House said it was the Awami League government which first introduced semester system in academic activities of various public universities and colleges for which there is now no session jam. “We’ve also ensured improvement in the academic activities side by side expanding the scopes of education,”

Replying to another supplementary question from treasury bench lawmaker Shamsul Haque Chowdhury (Chittagong-12), Hasina said there is no obstruction or problem for the investors to make investment in the country saying that some 100 special economic zones are being set up across the country where the local and foreign investors could make investment easily.

She mentioned that all the necessary facilities are there for the local investors to make investment in the country while certain system is also there to check siphoning of money abroad.

In this connection, Hasina said her government had brought back the money from Singapore which was earlier laundered by Arafat Rahman Koko, the youngest son of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.

“Now such incidents of money laundering are also being unearthed while process is going on to bring back those funds ……we’ll be able to bring those back,” she said adding that the steps are also being taken so that the local investors are allowed to make investment abroad in a limited scale.

Earlier, replying to a starred question from Shamsul Haque Chowdhury (Chittagong-12), Sheikh Hasina said due to the business-friendly environment adopted by her government, the country’s export earnings rose by more than double over the last seven years with the export earnings fetching at US $34.846 billion in the last fiscal (FY17) which was only US $15.565 billion in FY09.

Listing various steps taken by her government for boosting the export earnings alongside diversifying the export market and products, Sheikh Hasina informed that the number of exportable items as well as the number of export destinations also rose to 750 and 199 respectively due to the realistic steps by the present government.

She said identifying the export sector as a priority sector in the 7th Five Year Plan, her government has framed the Export Policy 2015-2018 in a bid to simplifying and making time befitting the export operations. Besides, the Import Policy Order 2015-2018 has been framed which is also export-friendly.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh has been able to attain duty free facilities from different countries of the world including seven countries under the SAFTA alongside 28 countries from the European Union.

Besides, she said it has been possible to form Joint working group on power, water resources, transit and connectivity under the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) initiative to boost regional trade.

Highlighting the growing trend of import and export of the country from FY 1997 to FY 2017, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh imported goods worth US$ 4,418 million in FY 1997 against the imports of $7,150 million.

In a span of long 20 years, the export earnings in the last fiscal year rose significantly to $34,846.84 million against the imports of $43,663 million.




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