The Prime Minister’s adviser on private industries and investment, Salman F Rahman, has said every export-oriented sector will be given incentives, as given to the RMG sector, in the upcoming budget. Rahman said this yesterday at a seminar titled ‘Bangladesh: Leveraging Growth Opportunities in the Neighborhood’ at the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) in the Banani area. He was the chief guest at the event.
He also said the results of the new rankings in the ease-of-doing business index would be announced in October and hopefully Bangladesh will improve its ranking from 176 to 125 this year. This position will further improve and become a double digit within the next two years, he added.
“We have made significant progress in different areas. Hopefully, we will bring it down to double digits next year. We want to be below 50 in the ease-of-doing business anyhow,” he said.
“An investment-friendly climate has been created in Bangladesh because of which foreigners have shown interest in investing here. Every company should take steps to diversify its export basket,” he added.
Rahman also said the country is not only heading towards becoming a middle-income country, but it will also become a developed nation by 2041 under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “The economy will move with the private sector. Most Cabinet ministers are from the private sector. This is the first time in the history of Bangladesh and even South Asia,” he added.
This, he said, indicates that the private sector is going to lead Bangladesh into the future. “After the new government was elected, it’s evident that the Prime Minister realised what we have achieved so far in the last 10 years—last two terms in power—mainly due to efforts of the private sector. The government has created an environment to facilitate the private sector in playing an active role in promoting growth,” he added.
“It has been evident from the first term in 1996 when the Prime Minister took charge for the first time,” he said. Sanjay Kathuria, a lead economist with the World Bank, said Bangladeshi firms could explore investment opportunities in northeast India (NEI) to strengthen its competitiveness. “The country has to secure a steady supply of raw materials that are imported, thereby reducing its vulnerability,” he added.
He also said: “The country could consider investing in NEI’s farm sector, given the relative scarcity of land in Bangladesh to meet the food requirements of a growing population.”
Dr Zaidi Sattar, chairman of PRI, said: “Analysts have described this region as the least economically integrated. Intra-regional trade is only 5 per cent cornpared to 26 per cent in ASEAN and 60 per cent in the EU. SAFTA has not helped. In a more economically integrated region, Bangladesh’s growth could be 1-2 percentage points higher.”
“Bangladesh is on the cusp of graduating out of the LDC status, having met all three criteria for graduation at once—income, human assets, and economic vulnerability index. It is a sign that economic progress is associated with human development,” he also said.
“Income per capita was USD 90 in 1971 when Bangladesh was lumped with Chad, Rwanda and Burundi. It is now hitting USD 1800.
The poverty rate, which was 72 per cent in 1971, stands at 22 per cent now. Extreme poverty (now 12 per cent) will be in single digits by 2024 and is on track to be zero by 2031. Maternal mortality, infant mortality and child malnutrition rates are all down sharply. Adult literacy (72 per cent) and life expectancy (73 per cent) rates are up.”