The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has upgraded Bangladesh’s growth estimate for fiscal 2018-19 to what would be the highest in the Asia Pacific region, in what can be viewed as a thumping endorsement for the economy’s tremendous momentum.
The Manila-based multilateral lender now estimates the Bangladesh economy grew by a record 8.1 percent in the just concluded fiscal year, up from its previous forecast of 8 percent.
“It is the highest in the Asia-Pacific,” said Manmohan Parkash, country director of ADB, at the closing ceremony of the two-day Good Project Implementation Forum. The ADB organised the event at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in Dhaka.
Furthermore, the ADB predicts Bangladesh will log in the highest growth in the Asia-Pacific region in 2020 too.
“Friends, I call Bangladesh a ‘Land of Opportunity’. This is because the country has made tremendous progress in a very short period. Despite a difficult global economic outlook, Bangladesh continues to progress at a high rate,” he added.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal was the chief guest at the event that was attended by 300 officials from project executing and implementing agencies of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The forum, which was styled “Delivering Better Project Outcomes”, saw the participants share their experiences, best practices and lessons learned from implementation of various projects.
It is the first such initiative in Bangladesh to promote South-South cooperation.
The impressive GDP growth is led by higher exports and remittances thanks to continued political calm, improved power supply and higher growth in private sector credit, Parkash said.
“This is the fastest economic expansion in Bangladesh since 1974,” he added. Bangladesh achieved tremendous economic development -- and even bested 17 big economic countries -- in the last 10 years, according to Kamal.
It is now the 32nd largest economy in the world and by 2030 the country would be the 24th largest.
“We have given over Tk 5 lakh crore budget for fiscal 2019-20. Before 2034, the budget will reach to one trillion dollars (around 85 lakh crore). A trillion dollar budget is our dream and we will materialise it, inshAllah,” he added.
Bangladesh is a developing economy now alongside India, Brazil, China, Russia, Malaysia and the Philippines, he added. The effects of growth can now be witnessed all around, from the cities right through to the villages. “The government wants to see every village enjoy the same facilities that exist in the towns and cities.”
Kamal went on to thank the Manila-based multilateral lender for extending $25 billion since 1971.
“About $10 billion is in the pipeline. If this amount is utilised, the country will be benefited,” the minister added.
Parkash congratulated the winning project teams. “Projects must be implemented faster, by adopting the finest possible quality and compliance standards. Better and faster project implementation is the key to delivering benefits to the people early, reducing project costs and sustaining development results.”
The ADB awarded the well-performing project teams in Bangladesh under 10 different categories. SASEC Road Connectivity Project became the best preforming or champions of the champion project by the ADB.
Kamal presented the awards to the winning project teams. Monowar Ahmed, secretary to Economic Relations Division, asked the local officials of the awarded projects to share their good practices with their other Bangladeshi colleagues.
The best project team recognition programme was initiated in 2001 and has been a regular annual exercise by the ADB to promote development effectiveness of ADB-assisted projects in Bangladesh.