2015: A YEAR OF MILESTONES
1. STARTING THE PADMA BRIDGE PROJECT
The government formally began construction of the much-discussed bridge over the mighty Padma river with its own funds. The $3-billion bridge, the largest infrastructure project in the country’s history. The bridge will connect the capital with southwestern Bangladesh, and boost regional economic growth lifting millions of people out of poverty.
2. BECOMING A MIDDLE INCOME NATION
After languishing as a poor nation since its birth in 1971 and being termed as a development case by international partners and economists, Bangladesh became a lower middle income nation in mid 2015, in a giant step towards turning into the much-cherished middle income country within the next five years. The graduation rode on the back of the country’s stride towards a higher per capita income in recent years and stable economic growth. Economists termed the promotion as a milestone for the country.
3. RECORD FOREX RESERVES
Foreign exchange reserves crossed the $27 billion mark for the first time, egged on by a drop in global commodity prices, stable exports and a steady inflow of remittances. The reserves were enough to cover the country’s imports for approximately eight months. Rising garment exports and inward remittances are the two main foreign currency earners for Bangladesh. Lower import of raw materials due to improved backward linkages, and less import of food for better local production also helped cut import bills to boost the forex reserves.
4. A BOOST FOR MANPOWER EXPORT
Following a seven-year embargo, Saudi Arabia opened its doors to prospective Bangladeshi migrant workers. This will allow the country to send more workers abroad and earn more in remittance. The move came at a time when opportunities for many other manpower export destinations for Bangladesh are shrinking.
5. MOTOR VEHICLE AGREEMENT
The agreement will enhance cross border trade and people-to-people contact in the four countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.The pact will promote safe, economically efficient and environmentally sound road transport in the sub-region and help each country in creating an institutional mechanism for regional integration.
6. BANGLADESH DEVELOPMENT FORUM
After a gap of five years, the meeting of Bangladesh Development Forum took place in Dhaka. The government shared its needs and priorities with the international development partners.At the event, the development partners pledged further support for Bangladesh, to help the country boost economic growth and reduce poverty.
7. SHIPPING DEAL WITH INDIA
Dhaka signed the “standard operational procedure” with New Delhi to introduce bilateral shipping services that will boost trade between the neighbouring countries by reducing freight time and costs and easing pressure on the land ports.
8. SEVENTH FIVE-YEAR PLAN
The year gave the country the seventh five-year plan (2016-2020) in hopes to raise GDP growth to 8 percent from the current-decade’s average of more than 6 percent.The government also targets to create jobs for millions of youths, improve infrastructure, lay new rail tracks and start generating electricity from the Rooppur nuclear power plant.
9. SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF MDGs
The government achieved a number of millennium development goals (MDGs) under international efforts before the end of the 15-year period that comes to a close this year with the country bagging a number of awards and setting itself as a role model.In the year, the country also got the sustainable development goals for the next 15 years, to cut extreme poverty and hunger, among 17 other goals.
JANUARY 03, 2016