The government is taking elaborate preparations to organise nationwide celebrations to mark the beginning of Bangladesh's graduation from the least developed countries category.
A mission by the Secretariat of the UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP) to Dhaka in mid-October last year confirmed that the country is likely to meet the three criteria for graduation for the first time at the review in March 2018.
The CDP measures the LDC category on the basis of per capita income, a human assets index and an economic vulnerability index, and a country must exceed thresholds on two of the three criteria at two consecutive triennial reviews to be considered for graduation.
Bangladesh looks likely to be the first LDC ever to graduate on the basis of all three criteria, the CDP said in October last year.
Bangladesh, the largest LDC in terms of population and size of economy, is likely to leave the LDC category by 2024, propelled by better health and education, lower vulnerability and an economic boom. The CDP's five-day triennial review meeting will start on March 12 16 in New York and it is expected that Bangladesh would be included in its graduation list.
To celebrate the beginning of the graduation process, the government has planned to organise various programmes from March 20 to March 25.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs yesterday approved necessary expenditure to purchase goods and services directly to arrange different functions in Dhaka.
A finance ministry official said the Economic Relations Division (ERD) will make the expenditure from its own budget.
The ERD told the committee that it would directly purchase the goods and services from experienced firms and event management companies.
A function will be arranged at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka on March 22 to witness the graduation.
A UN recommendation letter for the graduation will be handed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
NGOs, civil society organisations, and prominent personalities from home and abroad will be invited to the day's event.
The following day, an international seminar will be held at the Radisson hotel.
The capital will be adorned with colourful banners, festoons, lightings and flags. Stickers depicting development activities will be pasted on buses, cars and other vehicles.
At district and upazila level, video contents and theme songs will be played at various important roads, intersections and landmarks.
The culture and information ministries will carry out publicity on development activities through traditional music genres such as Jaari Gaan, Pala Gaan and folk songs.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will be used to publicise the country's development.
The print media will carry write-ups and editorials and the electronic media will air discussions on the country's development success.
The ministries will observe service week from March 20 to March 25.
The programmes that would be organised outside of the capital would be financed by the fund earmarked for the observation of the Independence Day.
The graduation entails opportunities and challenges alike for Bangladesh, according to an ERD report.
The challenges include Bangladesh losing trade facility in case of export, and concessional loans. So, the ERD has undertaken an initiative to prepare a report on the impact of the graduation.
The CDP will review Bangladesh's progress in 2021, and after a three-year transition period official graduation from the LDC category will take place.
Following graduation in 2024 Bangladesh, would probably be given a three-year transition period before it loses duty-free, quota-free market access to the European Union under the Everything but Arms initiative for LDCs, according to the CDP.
After 2027, provided that it ratifies 27 conventions on human and labour rights, environment and governance, Bangladesh may be expected to gain access to the generalised system of preferences plus (GSP+), giving it dedicated preferential tariff rates.
Five countries have so far graduated from LDC status: Botswana in 1994, Cape Verde in 2007, the Maldives in 2011, Samoa in 2014, and Equatorial Guinea in 2017.
There are still 33 LDCs in Africa, 13 in Asia and the Pacific and one in Latin America and the Caribbean, totaling 47.