The Financial Express

Greater job creation, better use of funds from new windows a must

Muhith says as experts show ways of dealing with BD's post-LDC challenges, opportunities

| Updated: March 25, 2018 14:00:42

Finance Minister A M A Muhith speaking at an international workshop on 'Bangladesh Graduation from LDC Status: Opportunities and Way Forward' at a city hotel on Friday — FE Photo Finance Minister A M A Muhith speaking at an international workshop on 'Bangladesh Graduation from LDC Status: Opportunities and Way Forward' at a city hotel on Friday — FE Photo

Muhith prioritises greater job creation and better use of funds from some newer windows as experts focused on challenges and advantages to emerge from Bangladesh's much-vaunted LDC graduation.

Speakers at an international workshop in Dhaka Friday underscored the need for right measures to successfully face the oncoming challenges from the graduation to developing-country status as well as reap benefits coming from the windows to open up.

Terming the recognition of Bangladesh's eligibility for graduation as a first milestone they said the country has now to traverse a very long course to become a developed country and by taking efforts the duration has to be shortened to get to the ultimate goal.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith chaired the workshop, titled 'Bangladesh Graduation from LDC Status: Opportunities and Way Forward', which was organised the by the Economic Relations Division on the eve of the United Nations recognising Bangladesh's eligibility for graduation from the least-developed-country (LDC) status.

Officials from the United Nations, business community leaders, and top government officials spoke at the event held at a city hotel. ERD secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam presented a keynote at the programme highlighting the economic indicators and scenarios.

Mr Muhith said the graduation has been mainly because of excellent performance of citizens from all walks. Bangladesh has performed quiet comfortably in meeting all the three threshold criteria.

Citing some disadvantages of the graduation, the minister said Bangladesh has been receiving many types of global assistance which may not be available from now on.

But, he said, several windows of opportunities will also be opened as the country graduates to the next stage. "We will have much better access to the global capital market and we shall be able to get money at good range from there."

Mr Muhith told his audience that encouraged by all these factors, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has set a target of achieving the status of developed country in little more than 20 years in 2041.

To get to the goal and reap benefits of graduation, the minister emphasised more employment creation as the state of growth in this arena is not satisfactory.

He was confident that Bangladesh would not face any difficulty in attracting resources but underscored the need for continuation of their better use.

Mr Muhith found climate change as a significant problem facing the country. "We have been adopting many measures on our own in order to tackle climate-change impacts. We have to continue with the programmes for the same."

The minister took pride in the fact that the country has been doing ever so well in the area of social indicators, over a pretty long period of time now. "I believe we are benefited from the programmes and should carry on the efforts in this sector."

Speaking on the occasion, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin) said the achievement is an outcome of joint effort of the government and the private sector.

"We are looking for inclusive development and I hope we will be in the right path," he told the meet.

The apex-business-body chief listed some roadblocks they circumvented to get on the higher trajectory of socioeconomic advances.

"We have traffic problem, port problem; we have problem in financial market, fluctuation of interest rate. We have many problems. But now people are asking how you made this kind of achievement," he said.

Mr Mohiuddin said if the government could provide them a conducive atmosphere, businesses would be able to turn the country into a golden Bangladesh. And he appeared upbeat that foreign investors would join hands on this journey.

President of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka Nihad Kabir said the graduation will give Bangladesh opportunity of access to many different modalities of finance and many different ways of generating capital and attracting investments.

She hoped that development partners of Bangladesh would remain with the country to make sure the transition period smoothened.

Renowned economist and chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad noted that the rural economy of Bangladesh is very strong and the country is in better position compared with the other LDCs.

He said Bangladesh did tremendously well in implementing millennium development goals and would remain in the frontline in implementing sustainable development goals.

Mr Ahmad underscored training youth workforce, raising capacity in budget implementation, and focus on bilateral and multilateral partnerships.

Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Haoliang Xu said Bangladesh has to do a lot to move onto the stage of developed country by 2041.

To attain the goal the country will have to bring structural transformation, improve productivity, address inequality, and quality of governance, the UN official told the post-recognition meet.

Mr Xu praised Bangladesh for performing very well in poverty reduction.

High Representative of UNOHRLLS Fekitamoeloa Katoa Utoikamanu, chief of secretariat of committee for development policy (CDP) Roland Mollerus, Prime Minister's principal secretary Nojibur Rahman, principal coordinator of SDG affairs Abul Kalam Azad, foreign secretary Shahidul Haque, commerce secretary Shubhasis Bose, and executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Kazi M Aminul Islam also spoke, among others.


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