Bangladesh stands on the threshold of a new year and prepares to engage in the democratic process on January 7, 2024, the nation is poised for significant developments that will shape its trajectory over the next five years.
The lead-up to the election has been marked by challenges, with opposition forces resorting to disruptive tactics such as strikes, road blockades, and arson attempts. Despite these obstacles, the resilience and enthusiasm of the Bangladeshi citizens have prevailed, underscoring the significance of the electoral process.
Anticipation surrounds the prospect, Awami League securing victory in the upcoming election, prompting reflections on the future governance and the aspirations of the people. One key area of concern for the populace is the regulation of market pricing, which has had a profound impact on the lives of ordinary citizens. Awami League’s past success in effectively managing market prices during its initial 12-year tenure, starting in 2009, is a point of reference. However, external factors such as the global economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia conflict have presented unprecedented challenges.
The escalating worldwide inflation has led to a surge in prices for goods across the globe, and Bangladesh has not been immune to this phenomenon. Despite a robust domestic sector benefiting from the situation, regulatory authorities have faced difficulties in effectively managing and controlling prices. Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, the ruling party, in its election manifesto, has pledged to take decisive measures to swiftly address market pricing issues. The citizens look forward to the new government implementing concrete strategies to alleviate the economic burden on the populace.
Building on the successful transformation of Bangladesh into a digital nation, the government has outlined a vision for a smart Bangladesh in the next five years. The focus is on four pillars: smart citizens, smart government, smart economy, and smart society. The implementation of cutting-edge services through centralized service centers is a key component of this vision. The citizens express a strong desire to be part of a technologically advanced Bangladesh, and the government’s commitment to this in its electoral manifesto is met with enthusiasm. The establishment of a digital Bangladesh platform is seen as pivotal in realizing the broader vision of a smart nation.
Over the past fifteen years, Bangladesh has witnessed remarkable progress under the Awami League government and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The completion of major infrastructure projects, including the Padma Bridge, Dhaka Metro-Rail, an underwater tunnel beneath the Karnaphuli River, and Dhaka elevated expressway, symbolizes the nation’s growing capacity for large-scale economic and infrastructure initiatives. Sustained economic growth has positioned Bangladesh ahead of several neighboring countries in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and specific targets within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The international community has acknowledged Bangladesh as a role model for development.
However, challenges persist in certain sectors, notably in governance measures such as accountability, transparency, and corruption. Despite the government’s unwavering stance against corruption, it remains a significant issue, tarnishing the nation’s reputation. Recognizing the importance of enhancing governance, the ruling party has emphasized its commitment to strengthening governance structures. The citizens advocate for proactive strategies to reduce corruption, enhance accountability and transparency, and bolster the capabilities of crucial institutions. A concerted effort to instill discipline in the financial sectors is also deemed necessary for effective economic control.
Education emerges as a fundamental pillar in the nation’s progress, and the ruling party has committed to significant reforms in this field over the next five years. The focus is on creating an educational framework that integrates comprehensive and specialized components, with an emphasis on providing vocational training to university graduates. The current practice of producing a large number of jobless graduates annually without adequate employment opportunities needs to be reconsidered. The citizens anticipate the government’s sincere efforts in reshaping the education system to better align with the needs of the job market.
A central theme in the electoral agenda of the Awami League is the aspiration for a nation free from communalism and extremism. Over the past fifteen years, the government has diligently worked to diminish the prevalence of extremism, yielding positive results. As the nation looks forward to the future, there is a collective desire to see the government’s commitment to secularism and the fostering of a society characterized by religious peace and the absence of extremism.
As the dawn of 2024 approaches and a new government takes shape, the people of Bangladesh are filled with optimism for a promising future. The leadership of the Prime Minister, with a focus on propelling Bangladesh into higher echelons of progress and growth, instills confidence. The nation has witnessed consistent growth over the years, and the expectation is that this trajectory will continue over the next five years. The citizens, demonstrating their support for the Prime Minister, eagerly participate in the electoral process on January 7’2024, anticipating that the ruling party’s victory will expedite progress.
To ensure comprehensive progress, the government is urged to enhance its performance in underperforming industries, addressing crucial issues that impact the nation’s reputation. Striking a balance between economic growth and effective governance is paramount to achieving the goal of attaining developed nation status by 2041. The citizens remain hopeful that the government’s commitment to addressing these challenges will lead to transformative changes over the next five years.
The next five years hold immense potential for Bangladesh’s continued progress and development. The challenges posed by global economic uncertainties and internal governance issues necessitate a strategic and proactive approach from the government. The citizens, buoyed by the achievements of the past fifteen years, express their optimism for a future marked by sustained economic growth, technological advancement, and social harmony. The upcoming electoral process on January 7’2024 is seen as a pivotal moment for citizens to actively contribute to shaping the nation’s trajectory. If the ruling party emerges victorious, it is anticipated that Bangladesh will not only overcome existing challenges but also emerge as a shining example of progress on the global stage.
Author’s bio: Tajul Islam, a senior journalist and Special Correspondent of Weekly Blitz writes on a broad-range of issues in local and international media. Follow him on X @tajulraj1