Political standoff frustrating: UK

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A top UK official on Monday expressed frustration at the current political standoff in Bangladesh.

“We’re concerned at the moment about the political standoff…it’s very distressing for friends of Bangladesh to see what’s happening
here,” the UK’s permanent secretary for the department for international development (DfID) Mark Lowcock told the news agency after visiting Korail slum in Dhaka city.

He said all have responsibilities and all parties need to work hard to normalise the situation solving out the problem.

Focussing on the impact of the political instability on the country’s education sector, Lowcock said political standoff means children cannot take part in school exams.
Terming the progress that Bangladesh made as ‘very impressive’, the UK top bureaucrat said his country wants to keep supporting progress in Bangladesh.

“We want Bangladesh to fulfill its dream to become a prosperous middle-income country with better opportunities for people here,” he
added.

Lowcock said they want to see women are more empowered with more economic opportunities so that their husbands treat them better reducing domestic violence.

Asked what message he got from the community people in the slum, he said they wanted to explain their difficulties for them and they are ‘unhappy’ over land tenant security. “They want long-term security…they want something land tenant system.”

On urbanisation in Bangladesh, Lowcock said urbanisation is mostly is a ‘good opportunity’ for development but it does have to be well planned.

He said all around the world people are moving towards cities for better opportunities but it will have to be managed well.

“Urbanisation can be a big opportunity for the country…if it’s managed well the urbanisation process in Bangladesh, as in every other cities of the world where urbanisation is taking place, will help develop the country.”

Lowcock said it is a challenge to listen to the community about what needs to be done so that proper services are provided and adequate securities are ensured. “That’s the responsibility of government to listen to the community, to understand community’s requirements.”

The DFID top official arrived in Dhaka on Sunday to see how UK aid is contributing to growth and poverty reduction to help the people of Bangladesh. He is scheduled to leave Dhaka on Monday night.

During his visit, Lowcock met a diverse range of people, including senior government officials, partners, beneficiaries, youth leaders
and members of the international and business communities to share views on the development agenda and discuss how UK aid can help Bangladesh reduce poverty and achieve its ambition to become a middle-income country.

DfID Bangladesh country representative Sarah Cooke, head of press and communications at the British high commission Fouzia Younis-Suleman and other officials from the DFID were also present during the slum visit.

Source: Prothom Alo