We must remember that Bangladesh’s ultimate goal is to build a poverty-free, equitable nation
The upcoming national budget will be a particularly challenging one for the government -- we remain in the middle of a global pandemic, which has put a dent on the remarkable growth Bangladesh was experiencing prior to it. Yet, as the pandemic has revealed in gruesome fashion, nothing matters more than the safety and well-being of people.
To that end, the government’s prioritization of fast-tracking mega-projects in the country is an understandable decision -- after all, we also have certain economic milestones to achieve this decade, and the pandemic has already slowed down our progress when it comes to hitting out benchmarks.
Having said that, as this newspaper editorialized before, economic growth means very little if the masses, particularly those who are most vulnerable in society, are unable to get access to health care facilities when they most need it, in addition to being deprived of sufficient nutritious food on a daily basis.
The government is not in an enviable situation currently, and deserves plaudits for the way Bangladesh has, despite the grim predictions, navigated through the pandemic, remaining a net positive in our economic growth despite most other countries experiencing a significant dip.
Yet, we must remember that Bangladesh’s ultimate goal is to build a poverty-free, equitable nation, and also adhering to the principle of the Sustainable Development Goals to “leave no one behind.”
As such, while economic growth will remain vital for Bangladesh, and indeed, mega-projects are a cornerstone of that economic growth, yet, at this current juncture, and in adhering to the principles of equity, the authorities concerned would do well to be more mindful of sectors such as food and health. In the middle of a global pandemic, those are the sectors that deserve to be the top-most priority of any nation.