There is little doubt that attracting investment will be a critical factor
It is good to see the emphasis on employment and growth -- albeit a very ambitious one at over 8% -- in the proposed national budget for the FY2019-2020 that was placed on Thursday.
However, while it is commendable that the government recognizes the need to generate new employment -- which has been floundering in the country in recent times -- and continue the upward trajectory of the nation’s already thriving economy, the reality of the matter is that Bangladesh will likely struggle to make progress in both these goals unless it addresses its ease of doing business ranking.
There is little doubt that attracting investment -- both domestic and international -- will be a critical factor in determining Bangladesh’s ability to address the issues of employment and growth.
However, business experts and economists have voiced concerns about the lack of urgency in improving our ranking in the ease of doing business in the proposed budget, and this lack of urgency could prove to be extremely detrimental to Bangladesh achieving its economic goals, both short-term and long-term.
Bangladesh ranked 176 out of 190 economies in the “Doing Business Report” 2018, which was the lowest position for a South Asian country, and it is a metric that we have historically failed to make progress in since its inception in 2003, which does not bode well for a country looking to become a favourable destination for investment.
Having an ambitious budget with ambitious targets is all well and good, but if Bangladesh is to truly turn the corner in its economic journey and fulfill these ambitions, then the government must make life easier for businesses.