When we talk about New Year resolutions, we refer to some objectives and plans that we intend to carry out in the upcoming year. We can successfully get hold of some of the aims we resolve while some of our goals remain elusive. It happens in nearly everyone's case.
In the same way, a country also should work out some targets in the form of New Year resolutions to upgrade its performance in socio-economic fields. Bangladesh has been doing well as a rapidly developing country for last few years and Bangladesh's advancement has been admired by international organizations and the nation received kudos from domestic as well as foreign angles for breakthroughs in eradicating poverty, raising literacy rate, enhancing digital services in rural and urban areas and for securing some more remarkable landmarks.
Bangladesh dealt with the Rohingya issue quite firmly during 2017. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's glittering roles for accommodating around one million Rohingya refugees on Bangladesh's soil was widely applauded by the entire world ascribing the title Mother of Humanity to her name.
Bangladesh should work hard in 2018 through dexterous diplomatic endeavors to implement the repatriation of the Rohingya people back into Myanmar. To make this happen, Bangladesh government, particularly higher officials of Foreign Ministry will have to exercise their intellect and strategies sagaciously persuading global stakeholders to compel Myanmar to rehabilitate the Rohingyas in their own country and to restore peace in Rakhine province. Bangladesh's diplomats in different countries across the globe should make the best of their efforts to organize international views in Bangladesh's favor regarding the Rohingya predicaments.
Bangladesh government should crack down hard on the irregularities prevailing in the country's banking sector for many days. Particularly, Finance Ministry and Bangladesh Bank are under ethical obligations to initiate required measures to establish good principles, accountability and fairness in both state-owned and private banks. Reports by different media agencies have in the meantime exposed that at present there are defaulted loans of nearly 1 lakh 30 thousand crore taka with different banks.
Moreover, the menace of money laundering is going on without barriers. Reports by foreign organizations like Global Financial Integrity and Swiss banks have already unveiled that capital flight from Bangladesh to overseas destinations is rising continuously.
Financial sources have informed that USD 65 billion dollars were illegally transferred from Bangladesh to foreign countries during 2004 to 2014. Unfortunately we have not yet seen Finance Ministry or Bangladesh Bank taking stern actions against infamous loan defaulters or money launderers. Top management of a few banks was reshuffled in 2017 but that would not be enough if corruption and disorder cannot be terminated from the banking turf of Bangladesh. Streamlining Bangladesh's banking arena should be taken up as an essential job to be accomplished in 2018.
It is difficult to predict what would be the political scenario in Bangladesh during 2018 because still we can see persistent disagreements widening between the major political parties. Dialogues between political fronts are very important for domestic stability. The existing political uncertainty will have to be dispelled to speed up Bangladesh's economic wheels. Besides, foreign entrepreneurs may not show interest to invest money in our country if sound political circumstances do not prevail. Solving the political puzzles is another vital task for Bangladesh in 2018.
Rising prices of rice and onions critically jeopardized the ordinary people of Bangladesh during 2017. Tackling price hike would be an indispensable work for the government in 2018 to relieve general masses from the bite of shooting prices of daily necessary things. The authorities concerned should conduct special surveillance to resist illegal hoarding of foodstuff across Bangladesh.
Leakage of questions in different exams was heavily criticized by educationists and people from the learned part of the society throughout 2017. When questions are disclosed before exams it displays total failure of academic administration. The government will have to execute immense actions against those responsible for such crimes to make sure it does not happen again in 2018 or any other forthcoming years.
Communal attacks on minorities at a few places of Bangladesh occurred during 2017. Such things should be combated with unflinching enforcement of law and order in 2018 and beyond. Those backing up communal political outfits should be identified and punished in exemplary ways. No tolerance should be shown to the patrons of religious fanatics in Bangladesh. The government should find out the diabolic people working hand in hand with religious extremists and get them prosecuted with immediate effect.
Reports from newspapers have stated that the rate of foreign investments in Bangladesh was not so satisfactory during last few years. At the same time remittances from overseas have gone down too. These two points require to be emphatically highlighted by the portfolios associated with expatriate Bangladeshis and investments to expedite the country's economic strides in 2018. Bangladesh government should work effectively to build up an investment-friendly atmosphere in the country to encourage local and foreign investors to set up business enterprises in Bangladesh.
We would like to put confidence on the people of Bangladesh as well as on the authorities in charge of running the country to mark 2018 with splendid success stories and acquisition of dazzling milestones.
The writer is a columnist for The Asian Age
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