Dhaka, Nov 13 (UNB) – Mentioning that Bangladesh has been able to maintain an impressive economic growth in recent years, speakers at a discussion here on Tuesday underscored the need for the continuation of ‘public policies’ to keep up the ongoing development pace.
“The continuity of public policies is very important. Political stability and public policy consistency are hallmarks of good development,” said ADB Country Director Manmohan Parkash at the discussion on the economic outlook of Bangladesh.
American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh organised the panel discussion at a city hotel.
Noting that the average economic growth in the recent years is impressive, the ADB Country Director said, “Some 7.5 percent, 7 percent or 6 percent economic growth is something very remarkable.”
“In terms of human development index, Bangladesh has done the best in the South Asia,” he said.
Manmohan Parkash said Bangladesh is also the best in Asia, not just in the South Asia when it comes to gender parity.
Former Finance Secretary Dr Mohammad Tareque said, “Bangladesh is not only moving economically, but has also gained miraculous achievement in terms of socioeconomic progress.”
Tareque, also a director of Bangladesh Institute of Governance and Management and former alternate executive director of the World Bank, said the next 40-50 years are very crucial for Bangladesh for making its large active labour force skilled. “So, it’s important for Bangladesh to make its large active labour force skilled and educated, utilise its relations with external world, diversify its export and remittance, and enhance the productivity of the private sector,” he said.
He expressed his optimism about the economic future of Bangladesh. “The growth of Bangladesh is unstoppable,” he said.
Former AmCham President Aftab Ul Islam said the country’s economic progress is being led by the business community as 85 percent of jobs is generated by the private sector, some 75 percent of investment and US$ 37 billion export earnings come from the private sector. “The role of the private sector is enormous in the economic development of Bangladesh.”
He identified high tax rate as one of the major barriers to enhancing the private investment in the country. “The tax rate is the highest in Bangladesh in comparison to our neighbouring countries.
Aftab Ul Islam, also a director of the Bangladesh Bank, said the central bank has turned into an ‘extension office' of the Finance Ministry which largely contributed to deteriorating the financial health of the country.
“Unfortunately, now the central bank has become an extension of the Ministry of Finance. Absolutely, it has become an extension of the Ministry of Finance.”
“Taking crores of Taka from the bank became a status in Bangladesh. A loan below Taka a thousand crore is not a loan now. If you take Taka thousand crore loan, it’s the responsibility of the government to schedule and reschedule the money,” Aftab said.
“The situation of the banks is horrendously bad. Bangladesh’s all the indicators are wonderful except the financial health. Financial health is really very bad,” he further said.
Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Kazi Aminul Islam said Bangladesh will have to have a GDP of three trillion dollar for becoming a developed country by 2041.
He said, “If we want to be a developed country by 2041, our GDP has to grow… if the population at that moment is 200 million, which is now 165 million, we’ve to have a GDP of three trillion dollar.”
Moderating the discussion, AmCham President Md Nurul Islam said Bangladesh has made impressive progress in the socio-economic sector over the years.