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Dev Forum meet from today

SFYP implementation top on agenda

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Kazi Zahidul Hasan  :
The crucial meeting of Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF) begins today (Sunday) after a five-year gap.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the meeting at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city.  
Finance Minister AMA Muhith will chair the two-day meet.
Representatives from all the development partners, organizations, economists and senior government officials are expected to take part in the meet organised by the Economic Relations Division (ERD).
The last BDF meeting was held in 2010. "The government will place its development blueprint to the donors at the meeting and discuss the country's development agenda there," a senior ERD official told The New Nation on Saturday.
He said, Bangladesh has already adopted its Seventh Five Year Plan (SFYP) and the government would apprise the donors about it. It would require billions of dollars for implementation.
The plan is the key document wherein development plans and required investment are elaborated. It would guide Bangladesh in rising to the status of middle-income country by 2021.
 "At the meeting, we will seek $4.0 billion annual funding assistance from the foreign financiers to implement the plan," he said.
The ERD official further said, if they extend the support, this will facilitate the country's infrastructure development and poverty alleviation.
The last BDF was held in Dhaka on February 15-16, 2010. And since then, different hassles have held back the development forum, formerly known as Paris Consortium.
The BDF has not been held up for five years due to lukewarm relations of the government with some donors, especially with the World Bank over the alleged Padma Bridge scam, as well as the political turmoil.
"We will seek technical and financial assistance from the bilateral and multilateral donors agencies at the BDF meet. At the same time, we will also discuss economic governance issues there," State Minister of Finance M A Mannan told The New Nation yesterday.
He said, during the meet, the government would also share its national vision and key development priorities with the development partners.
"The meeting also provides an exceptional opportunity to discuss how to take forward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), earlier adopted by the global community at the national level," he added.
When asked, the State Minister said, "Support from donors is crucial because it will help us to achieve double-digit GDP growth and cut the poverty rate to 10 per cent by 2021".

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