Bangladesh sets $80bn export target for FY24

Focus set for providing equal support to all in new export policy

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The new draft export policy 2021-2024 has been approved with a special focus on providing equal policy support to all the export-oriented sectors, said Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.

He also said the annual export target has been raised to $80 billion from the existing target of $60 billion.

The minister was briefing reporters after two consecutive meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) and the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase (CCPP) on Wednesday. Kamal presided over the meetings.

He said the CCEA approved the new draft export policy against the backdrop of the new reality on the global export market.

Some new issues received priority in the new policy, including the 4th industrial revolution. Bangladesh’s graduation to a developing country from the least developed country (LDC) got the special attention, Kamal also said.

The finance minister said some new items were added to the list of potential export sectors and how to expand the country’s export market by taking advantage of the fourth industrial revolution, and all these issues are among the core strategies of the new policy.

Adopting a working strategy to face the challenges of the post-graduation era was another issue mentioned in detail in the policy, Kamal said.

A sustainable export policy and facilitating ICT and freelancing, and the involvement of women entrepreneurs in export business are other import issues the new draft policy has focused on.

A special attention was also given on ease of doing business and investment, application of compliances and standards, priorities on production of intermediate and recycled products, promotion of food export in the proposed policy, said the minister.

He further said the draft policy will be placed at the cabinet soon for finalizing it.

He mentioned that the government will emphasize on recycling, research and development to achieve the target.

Responding to a question, Kamal said Bangladesh will never fall in the middle-income trap as its own resources and funds are being used in the country's development.

Vietnam's economy depends on foreign investments and they cannot be compared with Bangladesh, he added.

Asked whether the target was attainable, Prof Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said: “The way our exports are going, I don't think it's impossible. If we can move forward with proper planning, it is possible to achieve this goal in 2024. However, there are several challenges. One of which is to maintain the growth. For this, in the coming years, at least 20% of the rate will have to be maintained. This may not be that difficult, if any further waves of Covid-19 do not arrive.”

Another thing to consider is the rate at which the price of raw materials is rising in the international market, he added.

Bangladesh recorded its highest ever single-month export earnings amounting to $4.91 billion in December last year, thanks to a strong rebound in demand for apparel in western markets even amid the Omicron spread.

The export receipts surpassed the $3.91 billion target set for the month, registering more than 48 percent year-on-year growth, according to provisional data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Saddam Hossain also contributed to this report

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