WE echo the prime minister's call to the development partners gathered at the Bangladesh Development Forum for their sustained support to Bangladesh in its pursuit of unimpeded development. The premier is justified in making the appeal to the international community given the country's extraordinary success in achieving most of the targets of the MDGs, all the while sustaining a steady rate of six-plus annual GDP growth despite a global economic meltdown and political unrest here at home.
Going forward, we, however, face some formidable hurdles, namely, energy sector reform, infrastructure development and competitiveness as per recommendations of some development partners. Reforms are necessary in the pricing policy to attract investment in the energy sector and the tax-GDP ratio has to increase to arrange financing in the infrastructure sector, according to a senior official of the IMF who also stressed the importance of generating more revenue from domestic resources and removing the barriers of doing business.
All these are sound economic advice. But to what extent these policies will actually work depends largely on good governance which also includes aid utilisation and public safety. Reportedly, more than half of financing of social and physical infrastructure still comes from foreign aid. That being the case, efficient utilisation of aid and the implementation of programmes, assume importance.
Therefore, improving governance and safety - preconditions for foreign investment and aid - should be the priority in the 7th Five Year Plan and the government, civil society organisations, academia, private sector and development partners should work together towards reaching this shared goal.