Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wants to turn Bangladesh into a developed nation by 2041 and as such has asked for preparing a vision document in this regard, Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said.
The 20-year vision document is expected to be ready by 2021, work on which in full swing would begin in 2018, said the finance minister who was in Washington, DC last week to attend the annual Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
“By 2041 we are expecting [Bangladesh] to be a developed country, which means a very large increase in per capita income,” Muhith told Bangla Tribune in an exclusive interview. Such a vision document is the next step for the previous document which set the developmental agenda of the country for 2014-2018.
“We shall start working as a party, not as a government, producing some manifesto or some targets by the end of 2018. We had produced a manifesto of this kind in 2008 and it took us four years to produce that manifesto. It is a 16-page document publicly, but it is a 100-page document for a few people,” he said, adding that only three-four people including the prime minister have access to such a visionary document.
“She is planning a similar thing to be produced by 2021 or so. This is the vision document for 2041. That is to me very important work for the party. I have done the previous one, so I know how much it involves,” Muhith said, adding that he is retiring in 2018.
Responding to questions, the finance minister said India-Bangladesh relationship has been very good for the last several years. “The relations between the country reached a very good level since the time of Manmohan Singh. After his departure, we were not sure what’s going to happen,” he said.
But the Bangladesh visit of the prime minister was quite reassuring. “That reassurance we got from Mr Modi’s visit. I think he made it simple that, well, whatever has been under discussion, they should not stop. They should continue from where they had been left by the previous government,” he said.
As a mark of regional cooperation, he said Bhutan, India and Bangladesh are working under a project wherein a 1,000MW electricity generation plan would be established in Bhutan for the people of Bangladesh, which would be transmitted through India.
“Bhutan will have this plant for us dedicated to Bangladesh. That requires India’s permission, transmission etc. This is now fine. Now this will go on. We shall provide substantial financing and loans etc will be taken for it. Because we are quite sure that our demand for fertiliser will continue unabated, so to say,” he said in response to a question.
A similar project is being worked in Nepal, he said, adding that electricity would be transmitted through India.
“India has agreed that whatever link is to be provided and we are importing power from India, but to get it from Nepal and further, a little bit more of the linkage is needed,” he said.