920Published on January 13, 2022
Rooting out its stigma of as ‘bottomless basket’, Bangladesh is now well-recognized as a developing country. Internationally, this rise has stunned many states as a surprise or miracle. But economists interpret it differently. They think that Bangladesh has changed due to the appropriate policy of the government, the continuation of the policy and creating opportunities for people consistently. Hunger, recession and poverty have been eradicated from the country, and the country’s people have become financially self-sufficient- resulting in the overall economic development of the country.
In an interview with the Voice of America, prominent economists and World Bank’s former official Dr Akhtar Mahmood discussed the economic growth of Bangladesh in detail. He said: "We didn't have a scope before independence. But we get the chance to rise ourselves for independence. Bangabandhu wanted to make people economically self-sufficient by introducing a socialist economy. He made it clear that the socialism of Bangladesh would not be in any other country’s model, but its own style. Explaining the socialist economic system of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu aimed for bringing smiles to the face of the destitute. Although the pace of growth was halted for some time in the meantime, now Bangladesh has been progressing in that direction.”
The internationally renowned economist also said that the whole world leaned toward a free-trade economy after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. Then Bangladesh also had to follow the direction gradually. However, in 1991, during her visit to the United States, Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina had meetings with economists. “I was present in that meeting. Sheikh Hasina had several meetings to discuss how the economic development of the ordinary people can be achieved amid a free market-based economy. At that time, she repeatedly wanted to know how to find a way out in the free market economy to give the marginalized and ordinary people opportunities to grow.”
Regarding current improved Bangladesh, Dr Akhtar Mahmood said, “Bengali people are promising, and can utilize the opportunity. Many opportunities have been created for the people, thanks to the continuity of government policies for the last 12 years. If we can give ordinary people the opportunity, they are going to change their own economic situation. The government has provided opportunities to utilize the enthusiastic energy of the people. As a result, people have been able to improve their condition, which brought the overall progress of the country’s economy.”
According to economists, the main reason for the progress of Bangladesh is the stability and continuity of government policy, and the multipurpose opportunities for ordinary people – these helped improve the economic situation of themselves and the country.
Even Bangladesh was one of the few countries that managed to sustain economic growth amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Regarding this, the experienced economist said, "In 2020, our GDP grew by around 2.5 per cent while it fell by 10 per cent in India. And the World Bank had initially projected that Bangladesh's growth might increase to 5.1 per cent for FY 2021-22, but recently they have raised that projection to 6.4 per cent. Therefore, we have seen in different estimations that current economic growth and development is much higher than those of other countries.”
Bangladesh's production has increased a lot in the last 12 years, which helped our economy improve to a great extent. However, there are still opportunities to increase productivity in different sectors. If productivity can be maximized in multipurpose sectors in the next few years, duty-free trade or low tariffs will not harm Bangladesh but will strengthen the ongoing economy. The former official of World Bank Dr Akhtar Mahmood recommended it about the next phase of economic context following the transition to a developing country from a least developed one.
This economist also pointed out the foresight of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to reach economic opportunities for the country’s people. He said, "Even if we move towards a market-based economy, Sheikh Hasina is trying to do what is necessary so that the poor are not left out and do not lag behind. So from an economic point of view, I say - She (Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina) is trying to make a balance. Basically, the market economy is very powerful, it gives opportunities to the energetic labour forces to boost. At the same time, there is an urge to look after the marginalized and the ordinary people and to create opportunities for them. There needs to bring a balance between the two and that is what I think she (the Prime Minister) is doing.”