Saturday, April 13, 2024

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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Keeping up with our ambitions

The trend of slowing economic growth is concerning

 
Update : 04 Apr 2024, 09:31 AM


By now, just about every Bangladeshi is aware of the lofty ambitions that we have set for ourselves as a nation; not only do we intend to smoothly graduate from a least developed country in the next couple of years, but by 2041, we harbour the dream of becoming a high-income nation, a “smart” Bangladesh driven by technological innovation.

However, Bangladesh's stagnating growth rate, projected by the World Bank to fall below 6% for the second consecutive year, gives us cause for pause. In fact, with neighbouring countries in South Asia such as Sri Lanka and India surging ahead in terms of projected growth rate, Bangladesh risks falling behind in its pursuit of economic development and prosperity.

While there are several factors that contribute to a nation’s economic health, many in today’s volatile world beyond our control such as the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the numerous wars and invasions that have wrecked global supply chains, this slowdown relative to our neighbours is still alarming given Bangladesh's ambitious aspirations.

While projections should never be viewed as an absolute, it would be unwise to reject it outright; given our struggles with inflation, our depleting foreign exchange reserves, and our faltering financial sector that has seen the sharp depreciation of the Taka against the Dollar, urgent attention from our policymakers is the need of the hour.

In addition, there remains a pressing need to enhance our investment climate. It has been stated repeatedly that Bangladesh will require adequate foreign investment for it to achieve its goals. Despite progress in recent years, cumbersome regulatory processes, inadequate infrastructure, and bureaucratic inefficiencies remain rampant, dragging our economy down.

There are no quick fix solutions, but the trend of slowing economic growth is concerning. If Bangladesh is indeed serious about reaching the goals it has set for itself by 2041, the challenges and roadblocks that exist must be tackled immediately, so that our growth rate matches our ambitions.

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