Bangladesh should focus more on aid utilisation for its economic development, as the country will no longer enjoy duty benefits after leaving the group of least developed countries by 2024, an economist said yesterday.
“If the pace of the current economic development continues, Bangladesh will get rid of the LDC status by the end of 2024,” said Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
Rahman spoke at a discussion on governance and development at the Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF) meeting at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka. Bangladesh should also increase regional cooperation for better business opportunities, he said.
Bangladesh can easily be connected with its neighbours such as Bhutan, India, Nepal, China and Myanmar, he said.
“We have a lot of opportunities, but we will have to know how to use those.”
Rahman said Bangladesh was supposed to have a strong ombudsman, but there is no such institution to check corruption and anomalies. He suggested immediate reforms to the local government system as development of the country largely depends on it.
“The most important challenge for Bangladesh is to maintain the current macro-economic stability.”
Pierre Mayaudon, ambassador and the head of delegation of the EU in Bangladesh, said development partners will continue supporting the government's efforts to be active in the implementation of the global partnership for sustainable development.
He also stressed formation of specific policies for mobilisation and use of finance and more targeted sector-based programmes.
Development partners are ready to assist the government in mobilising various sources of financing for development, using overseas development aid as a catalyst for leveraging and maximising the impact of other means of implementation, he said.
In another session, Md Abul Kalam Azad, principal secretary to the prime minister, said regional cooperation in energy, road and rail should be strengthened.
He said more electricity should be generated from coal.
"We need to offer more incentive to international companies for gas exploration," he said, adding that price of gas would be adjusted upward in the next three-four months. He also recommended privatisation of railway.
Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury, vice chancellor of University of Asia Pacific, said latest technologies are being used to construct the Padma bridge. He said the government should make all issues related to the establishment of coal-based power plants transparent, as there are environmental concerns.