Bangladesh’s resilient economy attracts foreign players
Dhaka: Once called the bottomless basket to the world, Bangladesh's economy has now come of age and shown its resilience.
Economic liberalization has put the country on a solid foundation since the current Awami League government has been in power for a long time.
Even the nations who had marked Bangladesh as bottom less basket are now interested in developing close relations with Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has come of age and with broad-basing of its manufacturing sector and spur in infra projects, it can be an economy to watch out for in Asia.
From when (US Secretary of State) Henry Kissinger called it a 'basket case' in 1971, Bangladesh has come a long way. The recently inaugurated Padma bridge stands out. The international agencies that had refused to fund it are now congratulating Bangladesh on its completion.
Linking the southwest of the country to the northern and eastern regions, the roadrail bridge (Padma Bridge) built at a cost of USD 3.6 billion was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on June 25.
Besides, entry into the era of metro rail, express highway, Karnaphuli tunnel, elevated expressway, radical renovation of the dilapidated railway sector which has gradually shrunk after independence, expansion of rail network, establishment if direct rail network between Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar, establishment of rail network with southern and south western region through Padma bridge.
Construction of the third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, modernization and expansion of Cox’s Bazar Airport, renovation of Mongla Sea Port, Payra Shallow Sea Port, Matarbari Deep Sea Port will bring great changes in the communication and infrastructure sector of Bangladesh, which is one of the successes of the government.
The current government has improved the power generation record by overhauling the fragile power system left by the previous government.
In 2006, the total power generation capacity in the country was 3,378 MW, so far the highest power generation capacity of Bangladesh is 26,700 MW and the maximum production in one day is 14,782 MW. Payra thermal power plant, Ruppur nuclear power plant will now provide interrupted power supply to Bangladesh.
After China, Bangladesh’s position in the ready-made garment industry is very strong. Moreover, the present government has created Special Economic Zones, easy business-friendly policies.
Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves now stand at more than USD 45 billion, despite rising import costs. Bangladesh’s growth rate was way above Pakistan, even before the pandemic; in 2018-19 it was 7.8 percent compared to Pakistan’s 5.8 percent.
From agriculture to pharmaceuticals and from shipbuilding to garments, the country's industrial base is diversifying and its exports increasing.
Bangladesh has its challenges but authorities have responded to keep the economy on an even keel.
Government officials’ travel abroad is restricted, the taka has been devalued against the US dollar, remittances from abroad are rewarded with cash, and luxury goods are taxed, all of which are helping the country build up its reserves so it can easily meet import demand.
In the meantime, the government’s policy of raising exports and lowering imports is helping the economy recover.
The country’s foreign exchange reserves are in a stronger position than those in number of other developing countries.
In the early stages of the pandemic, many assumed that remittances would decline as many expatriates lost their jobs. However, due to the success of the government’s diplomatic efforts, many Bangladeshis have returned to their workplaces abroad and are sending back money at pre-pandemic rates.
The World Bank (WB)-International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meeting in 2022 lauded Bangladesh for successfully implementing its policies to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and economic recovery from its effects.