BANGLADESH LIKELY TO BE 23rd LARGEST ECONOMY IN THREE YEARS
Bangladesh is fast moving ahead towards development and prosperity and the would-be Asian Tiger may emerge as the 23rd economically flourished country in the world in a span of three years, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said.
At present, it grabs the 44th position in world economy.
Three years ago this position was the 58th in global economic ranking.
While talking to journalists at his office recently, the minister said Bangladesh economy is flourishing day by day.
“We hope that the present situation will continue till 2019 and our economic achievement till today is more than expected,” he said, adding that Bangladesh has recently been declared by the World Bank as Lower Middle Income Country (LMIC). “It is our great achievement,” the minister asserted.
Dr. AB Mirza Azizul Islam, a former finance adviser to a caretaker government, is also upbeat on the future of
Bangladesh economy. He told the Daily Observer: “Recession is continuing in the world. So, many rich countries could not register their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the level of 6 per cent. But Bangladesh’s GDP has crossed over 6 per cent. It is economically a good sign for Bangladesh.”
He said the government is planning a GDP growth of more than 7 per cent this fiscal year. Pointing to the fact that Vietnam and Cambodia have reached out their GDR growth to more than 6 per cent, Mirza Aziz said, “This target is very ambitious in the present context of world economy. So, Bangladesh is economically at a convenient position in the world.”
He further said Bangladesh has also been resilient in the wake of global recession.
He pointed out that Bangladesh is running the first year of its seventh Five-year Plan and as such the overall position of investment and employment is very important for the country’s economy. “We hope that Bangladesh will have a more convenient position in the list of global economic growth in the days ahead.”
He, however, said the target of registering GDP growth by 8 per cent in 2018, in fact, is a very challenging one as the present GDP is only 6 per cent.
The present government has ensured food securities, reduced rate of poverty and enhanced women education in the country. Poverty has reduced from 44 per cent to 23 per cent and the country is now exporting to 187 countries. RMG, jute and jute goods, home textiles, frozen fishes, footwear, leather and leather products are among the 715 commodities that were exported during the 2014-15 fiscal year. However, the total amount fetched by the country from exports was less from its target of $34.50 billion. The four-fifths of the US$33 billion export earnings came from apparels. The target of export earnings from the RMG sector is $35.50 billion for this fiscal.
To increase exports and encourage entrepreneurs, the government has given cash incentives of 3 to 20 per cent for 16 items including RMG, frozen fish, leather goods, ship and agriculture products, including potato, light engineering items, jute and jute goods. Besides, bank loan facilities were made easier.
In FY 2013-14, exporters were awarded Tk 2,592 crore cash incentives. Such incentives were given in 16 sectors, out of which RMG sector got Tk 1,273 crore 57 lakh. An amount of Tk 139 crore 29 lakh 33 thousand was given for exploring new markets.
Bangladesh entered the global export market through a modest export earning of only $348.42 million in FY 1972-73.
In FY 2013-14, the export target was fixed at $30.5 billion, with RMG accounting for nearly 80 per cent of it. Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data shows exports grew to $16.20 billion in FY 2009-10 from $15.56 billion in FY 2008-09. The export earning in FY 2010-11 was $22.93, while it was $24.92 billion in 2011-12. In FY 2000-01, the last year of the past Awami League government’s tenure, witnessed exports of only $6.46 billion. In the first year of the BNP government’s rule, export earning was $5.98 billion.
On the prospect of Bangladeshi apparel exports, Siddiqur Rahman, President of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said, “We’re expecting RMG exports to reach $50 billion by 2020.” He, however, laid emphasis on political stability, control of traffic congestion and easing gas and electricity problems with continued government support to reach the goal.
Mohammed Hatem, former vice-president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the country’s export earnings will definitely reach $75 billion by 2020 from the existing $ 35 billion exports only from RMG sector.
DECEMBER 17, 2015