Harnessing potentials of service sector

Nashir Uddin | Published: November 27, 2018 21:09:33 | Updated: December 01, 2018 20:53:55


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Service sector will in future be the prime mover of the world economy, with industry and agriculture sectors losing market share significantly. Keeping with the global trend, the service sector of Bangladesh has been expanding fast and maintaining an upward trend over the years. This is no longer limited to the domestic market. A service sector subsidiary of Summit Group, for example, has recently secured a deal to operate three inland water terminals (IWT) in India through a global competitive tendering process. This is for the first time a Bangladeshi company has been awarded such a deal on foreign soil. The company, Summit Alliance Port East Gateway (SAPEG) is a subsidiary of Summit Alliance Port, which is a publicly listed company in Dhaka and Chittagong Stock Exchanges.

Project handling capacities of service-oriented companies of the country are on the up with the continued development of large and medium infrastructural facilities. Of late, electronic dealings and infrastructure developments have marked significant rise alongside wholesale and retail activities. With a single click online, one can get air, train and bus tickets booked these days while staying at home. With eateries all around, home delivery of foods is done within minutes of placing orders online. Even simple banking and financial activities have been made simpler with fast expansion and digitisation of services. Phenomenal expansion of telecom services with 150 million mobile subscribers over the last decade also prompted significant growth of the service sector.

A World Bank report projects growth of Bangladesh's service sector at a steady rate of 6.0 per cent. The sector recorded nearly 6.30 per cent growth in the fiscal year (FY) 2017-18. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data reveal that the sector posted a growth of 6.69 per cent in FY 2016-17, up from 6.25 per cent in 2015-16. The sector's contribution to GDP (gross domestic product), as per the Planning Ministry's factsheet published in April this year, is 52.18 per cent compared with industry and agriculture sectors' contribution with 33.71 per cent and 14.10 per cent respectively. The service sector contributes the most to the national economy.

Commercial services export recorded a steady rise from merely $300 million in 2000 to $4.34 billion in fiscal 2017-18.

Notable rise in growth of wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants, transport and communication, financial intermediation, real estate, and services associated with technology in recent times, notwithstanding, there is a need to advance the country's technology capacity further and expand services to areas like tourism, engineering, consultancy, infrastructure etc.

Different sub-sectors of the service sector have great potentials to grow and contribute to the national economy in a greater way. The recent exploit of a subsidiary of the Summit group is a testimony to the growing strength and confidence of the service sector. 

nashir@gmail.com

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