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What we hope for

  • Published at 10:58 am June 7th, 2018
  • Last updated at 03:06 pm June 7th, 2018
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Photo: BIGSTOCK

We need to invest in education, and specialized skills and training for our most valuable resource -- young people

The finance minister is all set to announce the budget for the upcoming financial year today.

Over the last few years, Bangladesh has talked the talk with its hugely ambitious budgets, but has it been able to walk the walk? 

The new budget is set to be worth around Tk4,68,200 crore, a 16% increase from last year’s hefty budget. 

While ambition has been a key factor in our continued growth, and especially our economic prosperity, without proper implementation, these astronomical numbers will not amount to much.

For the longest time, the government has continued to fund failing state-owned banks, bailing them out with thousands of crores of tax-payer money. 

This has persisted despite the fact that they continue to function essentially as corrupt enterprises which dish out loans without following proper regulation on top of the taxes -- this wasteful spending must stop. 

The banking sector continues to be an overall thorn on the economy’s side, racking up default loans worth Tk74,303cr in 2017 -- an amount that has continued to rise each year. 

Where we should focus on instead is in ensuring not only economic growth, but also job creation so that our young and eligible workforce can find a place within the economy and keep driving it forward. Additionally, it is extremely important that this budget remains gender-sensitive, bringing more eligible women into the workforce. 

To that end, we need to invest in education, and specialized skills and training for our most valuable resource -- young people.

Private businesses need to be incentivized further. Currently, our business environment is riddled with bureaucracy and red tape, not only preventing local entrepreneurs from rising, but also preventing crucial foreign investment from coming in. 

But this should not come at the cost of our environment. Climate change remains one of the biggest threats to Bangladesh and its people, and we need to ensure that green practices are of the utmost priority. 

An increased emphasis on health and social security would also go a long way towards creating a stronger safety net for the most vulnerable amongst us. 

At the end of the day, sustainable business practices coupled with a focus on infrastructural development is crucial for Bangladesh’s continued trajectory towards middle-income status.