The National Dialogue program demanding Withdrawal of Government Shares from British American Tobacco for gradually implement a Tobacco Free Bangladesh by 2040 declared by Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, held on 30 January 2020 at 11.00 am at CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka.
The Dialogue Program was presided and moderated by SUPRO's Chairperson Mr. Abdul Awal. Honorable Deputy Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament, Adv. Fazle Rabbi Mia, MP, was present as Chief Guest. Among others, Mr. Manoranjan Shil Gopal, Hon’ble MP, Dianjpur-1, Adv. Khodeja Nasrin Akter Hossen , Hon’ble MP, Women Seat-40, Former Chief Information Commissioner, Professor D. Golam Rahman, Eminent Journalist and Former President of Bangladesh Federal Journalist Union (BFUJ) Mr. Monzurul Ahsan Bulbul, eminent Journalist and Editor of Daily Bhorer Kagoj, Mr. Shymol Dutta, Eminent Journalist and Chief Editor of GTV, Mr. Syed Isteak Reza was present as special Guests.
A welcome address to the participants was given by SUPRO’s General Secretary Mr. Mozibur Rahman and a key note presentation was presented by SUPRO’s Project Coordinator Mr. Zayed Siddiki, highlighting the facts and figures of Tobacco consumption cost-benefit, BATB’s business and government representation in their board and government’s share in the company.
Among others, journalists from more than 45 media houses, social and NGO activists, Anti-tobacco campaigners, educationists, SUPRO district committee members were present. Speakers and all the attendees at the Dialog program urged that the government investment should be withdrawn as soon as possible to achieve a tobacco free Bangladesh by 2040.
Outcomes of the National Dialogue Program
• In Chief Guest’s Speech Honorable Deputy Speaker Advocate Fazle Rabbi Mia said “With an aim to build a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040, as per Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’ pledge, he will place a proposal to her to withdraw government’s 9.49 percent shares from British-American tobacco company” in a gradual manner. He also stated that he will request the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and will draw her attention to reduce the number of government's officials in British American Tobacco Board of Directors gradually from 5 to Nil.
• The Dialogue Program was widely circulated in the mainstream print, electronic and online media portals. Leading 15 Bangla National Dailies and 12 English National dailies, 4 TV channels and 23 online portals widely covered the news and all together 79 stories were covered in the media.
• For wide media coverage the issue is now on the discussion in a significant manner which worked as a kick off of the campaign and created an ever-better situation for policy influence and advocacy to draw the attention of Honorable Prime Minister to withdraw the government shares from BATB.
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