A panel discussion will be held in that meeting on Economic outlook of Bangladesh.
Mr. Manmohan Parkash, Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Dr. Mohammad Tareque, Director, Bangladesh Institute of Governance and Management, former Finance Secretary & Alternate Executive Director, World Bank.
Mr. Aftab ul Islam, FCA, Member of the Board of Directors, Bangladesh Bank and former President of AmCham.
MODERATOR : Mr. Md. Nurul Islam, the AmCham President.
Apart from the panelists, FBCCI President, Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin and BIDA Executive Chairman, Kazi M Aminul Islam, also spoke at the discussion. Mentioning that Bangladesh has been able to maintain an impressive economic growth in recent years, speakers at the discussion underscored the need for the continuation of ‘public policies’ to keep up the ongoing development pace.
Manmohan Parkash, country director of Asian Development Bank in Bangladesh, answering to various queries in the session moderated by AmCham President, said that political stability and policy consistency were the hallmarks of economic development. He opined, “Five things are critical for Bangladesh right now. These are – continuity of macro-economic policies, good debt management, increased investment in infrastructure, human capital development, and good regional connectivity”, for accelerating economic growth in Bangladesh in future. ‘Dhaka and Chattogram account for 60-70 percent of the total GDP of the country and the government should emphasize setting up economic corridors in south and south-western regions of the country,’ Manmohan said. He said that Bangladesh needed significant investment in infrastructure and skill development. Manmohan said that ADB’s cumulative lending to Bangladesh stood at around $22 billion and two-thirds of the loans were for infrastructure. “Achieving seven percent growth is remarkable,” he said, while stressing on the importance of political stability and public policy consistency. Bangladesh urgently needs to lower its corporate tax rate to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI), business leaders said at the event. At the same time, the central bank needs to play a more proactive role in addressing the existing problems in the financial sector, they opined. “Our corporate tax rate is one of the highest in the world, and it is significantly higher than most of our neighbors,” said former AmCham president and Bangladesh Bank Director, Aftab ul Islam. He also added that Bangladesh’s economy was led by the private sector which created 85 per cent of employment in the country contributing to a remarkable economic development without which it would not be possible to achieve the sustainable development goals.
“Time has come to think which yields more benefits for the country: making one-taka deficit in the budget or investing one taka in the private sector”, said Mohammad Tareque, director of the Bangladesh Institute of Governance and Management. Speaking as a panel discussant he also added, “Next forty to fifty years will be very critical for us,” said former finance secretary Dr. Mohammad Tarek. “We have to equip our young generation with appropriate skills and knowledge to leverage our demographic dividend,” he opined. Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Kazi M Aminul Islam said India’s stunning success in the ease of doing business ranking indicates that Bangladesh can pull it off as well. He said this improvement is necessary for the massive investments needed for the “transformation” of Bangladesh to be a developed country by 2041 which would be a $3 trillion economy.
‘A tangible progress we have seen in last few years in Bangladesh is due to stable policy,’ Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), said. He said that to keep the development moving, regulatory policy should be stable at the same time opined that political stability was one of the important issues for the development of the country. Speakers at the event also called for more investment in research and innovation as well as for enhancing skill level of the country’s human resources.