Last month finally saw the convening of the ninth National Parliament. After two years we now once again have a democratically elected government, and the time has come to address the myriad complex and complicated issues that the country faces.
The last two years were a period of uncertainty and indecision. The interim government wisely shied away from taking too many long-term policy decisions out of respect for its interregnum and unelected status.
However, now that we have a democratically elected government back in office the time is long past due for these crucial issues of national importance to be openly debated and determined.
We have much work ahead of us. The world is in the middle of a global financial crisis that will test even the most skilful of governments and the sturdiest of economies. Merely navigating these tricky waters and keeping ourselves afloat as we are buffeted on all sides by the tides and tempests of this moment in time will be a challenging enough assignment.
However, we must focus, not only on getting by, but also on getting ahead. While we need to come up with a plan to see us through the next year, we also need to think long and hard about the direction the country must take in the next five to ten years and what steps the government needs to put in place to ensure that we emerge as a strong and prosperous nation.
Issues such as food security, connectivity, secularism, foreign aid, minority rights, law and order, corruption, governance, corruption, reform, energy policy -- all these and many more are now the burning questions of the day.
For too long we have put off a serious and substantive discussion about the choices available to us as a nation and what policies we need to be pursuing. That time is now over. The time has come for serious policy debate, not rhetoric or political posturing, to be on the table.
The Bangladeshi people expect it and demand it and will settle for nothing less. Equally important, the country cannot survive if we do not get serious about the challenges facing us and work diligently to come up with practical solutions and policies that will stand us in good stead for the coming decade.