Poor infra, policy disparity plus graft may slowdown economic recovery

13 October 2021

Underdeveloped infrastructure, policy inconsistency and corruption have been identified as cardinal causes of investment getting thwarted, and raising fears of slowing the country's economic recovery. Other impediments are lack of adequate energy and weak transmission, scarcity of industrial land, and non-transparent and uneven application of rules and regulations, says an elite trade body. The Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Dhaka in its report on 'Bangladesh's Economy During FY21' has pinpointed the predicaments facing the country's economic advances and called for early remedies. The low level of private investment, local and foreign, is also largely due to these impediments. To attract more local and foreign investors, the chamber suggested that the government should address these hurdles in order to ensure the country's rapid economic recovery from the damage caused by the ongoing pandemic. It also found the rates of growth in both savings and investment very slow.
Among various components, the agriculture and forestry sub-sector, which includes crops and horticulture, animal farming, and forestry and related services, recorded a lower growth in FY21, compared to growth in the previous fiscal. The trade body further stated that despite favourable natural factors and government support in terms of timely availability of inputs and finances, the agriculture sector achieved a lower growth of 3.45 per cent in FY21, compared to 4.59 per cent in FY20. Regarding export performance it said earnings from the top twelve countries bounced back, year-on-year, in FY21 after facing a setback for some time due to the pandemic.
To encourage investment in the post-Covid era and enhance exports after Bangladesh graduates from least developed country (LDC) to lower-middle-income status, the government has reportedly selected 17 potential products for promotion. However, efforts need to be made to enhance export by providing as much policy support as needed and removing all obstacles. Specific action plan should be taken up to promote the products in the countries where they have immense potential to be exported in increased volumes, the report said on a note of caution. Exports and remittance earnings are the two important pillars of the economy. So the policymakers need to focus on strategies for post-Covid recovery and concentrate on policies to strengthen the two pillars and upgrade various private sectors so that more successful revenue-earning streams can be generated. But the strategies need to be proclaimed clearly so that all stakeholders can prepare themselves effectively as well as efficiently at this stage for damage-control.

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