Dhaka, June 21: Economists, diplomats and business leaders have expressed their firm optimism that Bangladesh would gain higher GDP growth on a sustainable basis thanks to the business and investment-friendly environment and policy offered by the present government.Even the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Bangladesh has achieved the fastest growth in the Asia-Pacific economies comprised of 45 countries, BSS reports.
The country attained 7.9 percent growth in the outgoing fiscal 2018-19 which was the fastest expansion since 1974, said the Manila-based donor in its recent Asian Development Outlook (ADO).
Talking to BSS, renowned economist and chairman of Bangladesh Palli Karma Shahayak Foundation (PKSF) Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said no other country in the world except Bangladesh has been able to perform continuously to gain higher GDP growth on a sustainable basis.
“This has been possible as there is now an ample scope for work and a huge labour force in the country who can do hard work,” he added.
Dr Ahmad, an ex-president of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA), also said there are also many countries in the world which could not fully utilize their labour forces due to lack of opportunities.
He said Bangladesh is now doing well mainly due to three reasons — policy, favorable environment and situation and huge labour force.
“Our Prime Minister often speaks highly about this hard working labour force and her government is taking many steps to properly use this labour force,” he said.
The famed economist said earlier the international agencies assumed the government tends to hide data and statistics which was a reason for making their conservative projections.
“But, the situation has now changed and that’s why I think that the projections of other international agencies including ADB now come close to the government’s projections,” he said.
Ambassador and former Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Md Abdul Hannan said Bangladesh has witnessed an overall inclusive development over the last 10 years both at the urban and rural levels.
“I’m sure that the people of the country is very much grateful to this leadership…the people of the country, bureaucracy and the private entrepreneurs have been associated with this political leadership,” he said.
Referring to the government’s initiatives for establishing some 100 special economic zones across the country, Hannan, also the vice-president of BEA, said these economic zones would spur growth through generating more employments.
He suggested spreading industrialization, generating more employments, enhancing skills and facing the challenges of 4th industrial revolution.
Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, former president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), said Bangladesh has been achieving a very healthy growth rate over the last couple of years including 7.86 percent GDP in the last year (FY18) and 8.13 percent in the outgoing fiscal (FY19).
“This will definitely help improve further the socioeconomic conditions of the country and the government’s bid to become a higher middle income country,” he added.
Shafiul, also a former top leader of country’s apparel sector, noted Bangladesh has been achieving comparatively higher GDP growth than other countries in Asia due to very hard working entrepreneurs and laborers, expatriate Bangladeshis, revolution in agriculture while womenfolk are also being empowered.
He opined Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been able to successfully lead the country with her strong leadership as she pursues the right policy and strategy.
“The business-friendly environment is now prevailing here, but we could have done better had there been further improvement in doing business situation,” he added.
Shafiul underscored the need for taking concerted efforts by all to implement the various plans of the country including Delta Plan-2100 to further boost the country’s GDP growth.
The ADB in its recent outlook predicted that the growth will be 8 percent in the FY2019 and FY2020, terming it a new record.
“Bangladesh will continue to be the fastest in the Asia-Pacific,” the bank said in its ADO.
ADB Country Director for Bangladesh Resident Mission Manmohan Parkash handed over the ADO to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office in the parliament on Wednesday.
The ADO, the annual publication of the ADB, evaluates and forecasts economic performance of the 45 Asian and Pacific countries.
It said the growth will be moderate across most of developing Asia — 5.7 percent in 2019 and 5.6 percent in 2020 from 6.2 percent in 2017 and 5.9 percent in 2018.
South Asia will see buck trend of slowing growth in Asia — 6.8 percent in 2019 and 6.9 percent in 2020.
The ADO said the key attributors of this growth are strong leadership, good governance, stable government and continued political calm, sound macroeconomic policy and right development priorities.
The drivers of the growth have been identified as higher public investment, stronger consumption demand, revival in exports, improved power supply and higher growth in private sector credit.
The ADO mentioned strong public investment due to continued policy environment and expeditious implementation of large infrastructure projects and higher tax collection with expanded tax base will move Bangladesh economy further.