Govt contemplates setting up of ulema-run economic zone

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DHAKA : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the government is contemplating setting up an economic zone to be run under the supervision of Islamic scholars aiming to raise their income through economic activities.

“A process is underway to establish an economic zone to be run exclusively under supervision of alem-ulema to raise their income through economic activities,” she told the National Imam Conference at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here this morning.

The premier said the government took initiatives to set up 100 economic zones across the country for industrialization and generation of more employment.

“Scopes will be given to those who want to set up mills and factories in the economic zones,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the government also has a plan to produce and process halal foods as the demand for such foods is going up in the world.

She pointed out that production of halal foods have already started in private sector.

“We want to expand it as many Muslim countries import these foods from different countries,” she said.

The premier said Bangladesh has also an opportunity for exporting halal foods in larger volume as “our soil is fertile and if we make efforts and do hard work, we could boost production and send halal foods to different countries after processing”.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh became self-sufficient in food and is now producing surplus food.

“We are now in fifth position in the world in producing sweet water fish and third in producing vegetables,” she said.

In this connection, she said the government was considering scopes for appointment of an alem to be nominated by Islamic Foundation to monitor and supervise every organisation producing halal foods and products.

Sheikh Hasina said Islamic Foundation could undertake steps whether halal foods are actually produced in the organisations producing such foods. There should be an arrangement for monitoring of the matter in the organisations whether it’s government or private, she said.

“It would expand working area of alem-ulema and increase the demand and acceptability of halal products abroad,” she said.

The prime minister said the government took an initiative for conducting a mosque-based specialised primary education programme titled “Darul Arkam” in Bangladesh.

She said the issue of introduction of Arabic language learning course in every district is also under consideration.

Islamic Foundation organized the event titled “National Children and
Juveniles Cultural Competition and the National Imam Conference” with
Religious Affairs Minister Principal Motiur Rahman presiding over the
function.

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Religious Affairs Ministry Bazlul Haque Harun, Secretary of the ministry Mohammad Abdul Jalil, Director General of Islamic Foundation Shamim Mohammad Afzal also spoke at the function.

Maulana Obaidullah Ershad, the best imam at the national level, also spoke.

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