'Virtually every problem that has been identified today was identified 40 years ago, in reports I wrote about debt defaults'
The economic think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has suggested diagnostic analyses to find the issues affecting foreign investment and diversification of the export base in Bangladesh.
Prof Rehman Sobhan, chairman of CPD, came up with the suggestion while addressing the CPD Budget Dialogue 2018 in the capital on Sunday.
The many issues brought up in the discussion showed that the economy is actually doing quite well and has the potential for improvement, he said.
“There are many countries in the world where such a discussion would be meaningless because you know that very little could actually be done,” he said.
“However, I am now chairing my 25th budget dialogue. What is interesting about this is that over 25 years many of these issues which were raised today as possible suggestions, have been raised for 25 years,” the economist said.
“So the relevant point is why have we not been able to address and resolve issues which were raised 25 years ago and continued to be raised.”
Talking about the present financial crisis, the noted economist said the financial crisis was not a crisis of this regime, rather it has perpetuated from the regime of Ziaur Rahman, Ershad and BNP and previous Awami League rule.
“Virtually every problem that has been identified today was identified 40 years ago, in reports I wrote about debt defaults.
“So the relevant point is why has nothing been done.”
The economist said that while the prime minister and the government had done an excellent job in prioritizing power production, the planning minister was saying at this discussion that the real problem why the country has not been able to attract Foreign Direct Investment or diversify the export base is that it suffers from lack of power.
“So we should in fact to look at countries - how quickly they are expanding their power capacity, at what cost are they expending, what is the competitive supply cost of the power that is being produced, to get an idea about where go can go over here,” he said.
These kinds of diagnostic analysis of what is creating problems, what is necessary and what are the growth oriented sectors which need to be emphasized - these are the issues which will be helpful, he said.
“Increase in private investment and foreign investment is not happening as expected. This is because of cost of doing business is high in Bangladesh and there is a lack of regularity transparency and policy certainty, which prevents good business practices,” said Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Nihad Kabir.
Nihad stressed on skill development of the workforce as the industries especially the RMG sector are getting less workforce than their anticipated growth.