The Financial Express

Development thinkers for transforming Bangladesh into ‘productivity, skill-based' nation

| Updated: December 31, 2021 10:58:05

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Speakers at a discussion on Thursday suggested Bangladesh's transforming into a 'skill- and productivity-based' economy instead of the current 'market access-based' one for competing in the global arena.

They said the government has to reduce its dependency on import tax for revenue generation, and has to go for expediting income tax-based paradigm to befit as a developing nation after graduation from the least developed country (LDC).

Economists, policymakers and bureaucrats made the observations at the discussion titled 'LDC to Developing Nation: Prospect and Challenges'.

The Development Journalist Forum of Bangladesh (DJFB) organised the programme with its President FHM Humayan Kabir in the chair.

Planning Minister M A Mannan MP was present as the chief guest, while State Minister for Planning Professor Shamsul Alam was the special guest, and Planning Division Secretary Pradip Ranjan Chakraborty was the guest of honour.

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Distinguished Fellow Professor Mustafizur Rahman presented the keynote.

Policy Research Institute (PRI) Executive Director Dr Ahsan H Mansur, Planning Commission Member Sharifa Khan, Additional Secretary of Economic Relations Division (ERD) Abdullah Baki spoke on the occasion.

The DJFB handed over 'DJFB Best Reporting Award 2021' to four journalists for their outstanding reporting on development as well as socio-economic and macro-economic development.

Md Hasanul Alam Shwan of NTV, Tauhid Hossain of Jamuna TV, Rofikul Islam of the Business Post, and M R Mashfe of the Daily Somoyer Alo won the award.

The DJFB also unveiled a publication titled 'Bangabandhu and Development Philosophy' of the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh.

Mustafizur Rahman said Bangladesh's best option is transformation into a skill- and productivity-based economy instead of a market access-based one.

He suggested building blocks with the East Asian nations and groups for sustaining in the global competitive arena after graduating from the LDC status in 2026.

Dr Ahsan H Mansur said Bangladesh needs to restructure its tariff regime for making the country more competitive.

After graduating as a developing nation in 2026, the country would have to compete in the global market with other developing nations like India and China.

So, there is no option but to prepare the country for being competitive in manufacturing raw materials, capacity building in supply chain, and enhance productivity of manpower, he added.

M A Mannan said social poverty in the country is widening, which should be addressed now. Besides, regional disparity is still a problem in Bangladesh for ensuring balanced development.

"We need to invest more in roads, schools, and health sector for development."

Criticising the country's bureaucracy, Mr Mannan noted, "We (politicians) wait for investors with flowers and honey, but the bureaucracy in many cases creates obstacles on their path."

Prof Shamsul Alam said Bangladesh would lose some trade benefits immediately after the graduation, for which the country needs to be prepared by taking challenges.

The Ministry of Commerce should take a pioneering role in properly preparing Bangladesh in the international trade arena, he opined.

Import tax should no more be the base of revenue collection. Rather, income tax should be an important sub-sector, as there are thousands of billionaires now-a-days.

"We should learn from Vietnam. Even we can replicate the model of that country, if it is helpful for our development paradigm," he mentioned.

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