Desk Report: It is with some bouquets and a few brickbats that the Awami League government has passed three years of its second straight term in office.
The Awami League-led government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina steps into its fourth year in office today (Thursday).
The party held on to power following the general elections to the 10th Parliament held in 2014.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will address the nation today evening on completion of third year of the second consecutive tenure of her government.
In the televised address, she is expected to concentrate on the developmental milestones achieved by her government.
On this day in 2014, the Awami League that led the nation's War of Independence in 1971 under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, formed the government for the second consecutive.
The party made the campaign pledge of putting Bangladesh on the development highway in the election boycotted by the BNP and its allies.
Past its midterm, the Awami League has had a chequered tenure so far.
Although the beginning of its tenure was marred by violence, the party looks unburdened halfway through.
Awami League claimed that in the past three years, the country saw significant successes in major areas including politics, economy, agriculture, combating terrorism and driving the IT sector towards attaining the middle-income status.
Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data showed that the annual growth rate of GDP (gross domestic product) hit the highest ever record at 7.11 per cent in the outgoing year when the per-capita income surged to $1465, also the record high. The poverty rate also declined to 23.2 percent.
According to Bangladesh Bank, the point to point inflation was 5.38 percent in November, which was close to the target of 5.8 percent for 2016-17 financial year.
The reserve also hit a record nearing $32 billion in 2016, which was enough for meeting the country's six months' import cost.
Agriculture sector also showed robust growth in 2016 when the farmers of the country produced staple food-grains not only substantial for meeting the domestic demand, but also enough for exporting.
The country stood third in global vegetable and fourth in fish productions. Besides the record productions, stable and reasonable prices made both the farmers and the consumers happy in the outgoing year.
Bangladesh also made a significant footprint in combating terrorism in the outgoing year that was lauded worldwide. Like in the past few years, the country maintained the strong pace in driving the IT sector a major means for development and ensuring better public services to people.
The country received the prestigious ITU Telecom World award for its Bangabandhu Satellite Project.
The government also successfully delivered and executed the verdicts of the war crimes tribunals, making the nation proud again in the world for protecting and upholding the spirit of the War of Independence.
The work on much-hyped Padma Bridge started in the second year of the second term of the government with the expectation that operation of vehicles and trains over the 'Dream Bridge' would start in 2018 opening a new vista of opportunities. Meanwhile, around 40 per cent construction of the bridge had already been done.
Besides the Padma Bridge, the government already made significant progress in implementing some other mega projects including bus rapid transport, nuclear power plant, metro rail and deep-sea port.
However, arch-rival BNP maintains that the government is trying to veil its 'ruthless' stand against the opposition using the 'facade of development'.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir took on the development tale of the government and said, "(Pakistan President) Ayub Khan also celebrated '10 years of development' in 1968. He had to quit in 1969."
International human rights organisations believe that the right to freedom of expression in Bangladesh has been curbed under the Awami League government.
Mirza Fakhrul has alleged that corruption is "all-encompassing in Bangladesh" and that "government corruption is destroying the banking sector".
The government has been facing flak for quite sometimes over one scam after another in the banking sector.
risingbd/Dhaka/Jan 12, 2017/Mukul