Describing the agriculture as the driving force of the economy, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the rural economy has to be strengthened by injecting money into it. “We’ll have to provide a strong base for the rural economy…so we need to pump money into the rural economy,” the Prime Minister said. She was addressing the inaugural function of a subsidy-money distribution programme among the farmers of cooperative society for the waiver of interest on agricultural loan. Rural Development and Cooperatives Division organised the programme at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC). Hasina mentioned that cooperative is one of the tools that help the rural economy get a strong base. “And this ultimately helps the whole country.” The Prime Minister, however, asked the cooperative members not to emerge as loan defaulters. “You need to be careful that there’ll be no loan default in the future. We’re waiving the loan this time, but this will not happen again,” she said. Hasina said the borrowers repay their loan when they take it from NGOs at a higher interest rate. “But you’re found reluctant when they take loan from public banks.” The Prime Minister reaffirmed her government’s commitment to keep on providing agri-inputs to the farmers at subsidised rates. “To live with dignity and honour, we have to be self-reliant reducing dependency on others,” she told her audience. The premier said the government wants to ensure the optimum utilisation of internal resources and manpower to turn Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021. Hasina said her government has been working tirelessly to ensure the best use of internal resources and manpower to make Bangladesh a peaceful and democratic middle-income nation enriched with science and technology by 2021.