Another new year - 2018 has appeared among us with many dreams and possibilities as we Bangladeshis have welcomed the year along with other countries across the world. With the arrival of the New Year, it is our expectation that lives of all the people would be full of happiness and prosperity and the country’s image would be brightened more in the international arena.
We want that the government attaches priority to bringing economic prosperity in the country.The notion of our country, which was considered as a completely aid-dependent country in the 1970s, has slowly started changing since the 1990s. The aid-dependent Bangladesh has started its journey towards a more commerce-dependent country. Overseas assistance to Bangladesh is now less than 2 per cent of its GDP. Export earnings increased by 20% while remittance by 10%.
Transition from an aid-dependent to a commerce-dependent country is one of the remarkable achievements of the country’s 47 years of history.
About 47 years back, newly independent Bangladesh had started its economy with an empty hand. With war-ravaged infrastructure and about 7.5 crore people, the country’s economy was in the doldrums at that time. Foreign reserve was almost nil then. The reserve is strong now. It has been made possible due to hard work and dedication of our people under the leadership of the present government, led by Sheikh Hasina. The economy, gradually built up, is now the source of our power and inspiration. Many people in international arena are now appreciating our growth and progress.
At the beginning of the New Year, we should take a fresh vow to build a 'Golden Bengal' free from hunger, poverty and injustice, keeping the current development spree going. On the occasion, we should make renewed vow to bring smiles to the faces of our countrymen. A strong commitment is needed to make Bangladesh a prosperous future-oriented country.
Bangladesh has set up an example in the world in socio-economic development of its people. Bangladesh is moving ahead economically and it will continue its progress. Bangladesh is now a role model of development with its economic growth of over 7.24 per cent and increased per capita income. Country’s poverty rate is reduced to 22 per cent and it will come down even further if our progress continues at this rate.
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal recently said that 2018 will be a good and happy one for Bangladesh’s economy while Bangladesh would attain 8% growth by next fiscal (FY19). He said if the country could properly utilise resilient and vibrant young generation properly, then it will be possible to attain 8% growth easily.
By 2021, it is hoped that, we will be able to make Bangladesh a hunger and poverty-free nation and it is our goal.
At present the country’s economy stands at about $180bn and, according to the World Bank, it will rise to $322bn by 2021. The garment exports are likely to hit $27bn this year, 10% more than in 2015.
According to economists, the Bangladeshi economy has undergone a major transformation over the past two decades. This change has been spearheaded by the rapid expansion of the garment industry, which has helped reduce poverty and raise the employment of women.
The result has been a sustained increase in per capita income. It is important to recognise that Bangladesh is making important progress towards its goal of middle-income status.
Bangladesh also stands out in terms of development indicators. Poverty has been nearly halved since 1990. Inequality remains low and stable. Our country also stands out positively among low-income countries in terms of life expectancy, child mortality, and access to water and sanitation.
In addition, there has been good progress on financial inclusion. This includes efforts to enhance access and usage of financial services. Bangladesh compares very favourably with other developing countries across a broad range of FI indicators. These are all impressive achievements.
The IMF-supported Extended Credit Facility Arrangement with our government was successfully completed in October 2015. It helped lay the foundations for strong policies that are helping to spur the recent strong growth. Macro-economic stability has been preserved, and Bangladesh is now in a stronger position. This means higher reserves, lower public debt as a share of GDP, and lower underlying inflation. Clearly, Bangladesh has done well.
A significant increase in public investment is necessary to maintain competitiveness by generating higher productivity and growth. There is also clear scope to pursue capital market development to provide new vehicles to channel savings toward long-term investments.
Sustaining strong, medium-term growth will require a stable security situation. This is necessary to avoid adverse effects on market confidence.
We need to work with dedication and sacrifice so that the country can keep up its ongoing progress and stand amidst world community with dignity. Bangladesh is our beloved motherland. So, everybody should work with utmost sincerity and devotion so that our country can continue its journey towards progress and prosperity and stand in the world community with dignity.
Bangladesh is progressing fast economically and the government wants to keep up the progress. We want to see that Bangladesh will live in the world as a dignified nation keeping its head high, which was the main essence of the independence.
This country is ours. So we have to build up the country as a prosperous one as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Though a lot of development took place, more needs to be done. We want a poverty and exploitation-free country where everyone will live with equal rights and dignity, fulfilling the dream of Golden Bengal. The goals, for which our freedom fighters shed their blood, would be fulfilled if we can turn Bangladesh into a strong, developed and rights-based country.
We all, irrespective of caste, creed and political affiliations, should come forward and uphold the development and democratic process, being imbued with the spirit of our Liberation War. Let us engage ourselves in the services for the country and its people. Let this be our pledge at the moment.
Masudul Hasan, Birshrestho Muktijoddha
Projonmo Sangrami Oikya Parishad.