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Dhaka Tribune

Our untapped service export sector

With the right level of support, our service export sector can be so much more

Update : 30 Mar 2024, 06:00 AM

Bangladesh has a surprisingly robust service exports sector that nets our nation quite a bit in terms of revenue. However, the sector took a big hit in the first half of the 2023-24 fiscal year, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.

The earnings fell short of the government’s projected target of $4.76 billion, which, once again, reminds us of the virtues of setting bespoke, realistic expectations when it comes to our various sectors. One look at our transport sector is enough to know exactly what is wrong with the entire service export sector at large, which experienced persistent negative growth despite the government's annual cash incentives aimed at promoting the sector.

As far as sectors go, the service export sector is far more diverse in comparison to our export of goods, yet it still has a lot of room to grow, and experts chalk up the recent decline in revenue in our service exports to a lack of efficient policies, adequate planning, high-quality education, and limited investment.

At the end of the day, most of Bangladesh’s workforce is still predominantly unskilled in nature; if the government wishes to truly tap into our service exports sector’s potential for growth, it needs to focus on pivoting our people into becoming a more skilled workforce -- which would not be possible without adequate investment and policy support.

Increased investment in vocational training can prove to be instrumental to that end, as expanding skillsets is absolutely essential if the economy is to become more globally competitive and take full advantage of the potential of our demographic dividend, which we only have for just over a decade more according to projections.

With the right level of support, our service export sector can be so much more, to that end there is no better time to start than now.

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