THE World Bank (WB) in its Global Economic Prospectus published on January 14 portrays a rather gloomy outlook for the country's development. Whereas the government has projected the GDP growth rate to be around the 7 per cent mark, WB puts it at a much more conservative 5.7 per cent. The organisation is of the opinion that Bangladesh is suffering from an image crisis due to unrest in the garments sector and sustained volatile politics has not helped matters particularly. This holds a message for both the ruling party and the principal opposition party, BNP. Any repeat of the political violence over the preceding months will debilitate the economy from chalking up at least 6-7 per cent growth rate that is prescribed to attain middle income status by the year 2021.
It is hardly surprising that the report has been less than generous towards Bangladesh's economic outlook. Political movement against the government has already cost the economy 50 working days adversely affecting both industry and transportation. The uncertainties arising out of a dubious election process has created fresh fears for more instability rather than any respite. We concede that the lion's share in the political violence is attributed to the BNP led 18-party alliance. But the ruling party cannot say that it has had no part in it. It is imperative that the two largest parties in the country realise the primacy of the economy in today's world and tailor their politics to that overarching reality of keeping the economy undisturbed.