Involve private sector in SDGs: analysts
The government should involve the private sector in the implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs), as the private sector is the engine of economic growth, said businesses and trade analysts yesterday.
The SDGs, a roadmap for inclusive economic growth adopted by the United Nations last year, are very much related to private sector development, they said. The private sector should also be involved in policy formulation for the SDGs.
As per the roadmap, 17 goals will have to be achieved by 2030.
Bangladesh's economic growth is led by exports and the private sector, which holds an 80 percent stake in the national economy.
“The total investment outlay of the 7th five-year plan is $407 billion, of which, the private sector's share is 77.3 percent or $314 billion and the public sector's share is 22.7 percent or $92 billion,” said Asif Ibrahim, vice-chairman of Newage Group, a leading garment maker.
Ibrahim was presenting a keynote paper on 'the role of private sector in implementing sustainable development goals in Bangladesh' that was co-organised by Citizen's Platform for SDGs and Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the latter's office in Dhaka.
To achieve the target by 2030, gross domestic investment as a percentage of GDP would need to increase from 28.97 percent to 34.4 percent; foreign direct investment would also need to increase from $2.25 billion to $9.56 billion, he said in the paper.
“A private sector taskforce can be established to place an integrated opinion before the government,” Ibrahim said.
Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, a private think tank, said the private sector's role is obvious in the implementation of the SDGs.
However, it will be complex as the roles of the private sector have not been clearly defined in the SDG documents.
Bangladesh has a vibrant private sector and it is related to the issues, like creating decent jobs, being environmentally sustainable, corporate social responsibility and ethical production, he added.
Bangladesh needs authentic data in two important sectors so that the right action can be taken for the implementation of the SDGs -- the two important sectors are employment data and investment data, said Bhattacharya.
Bangladesh has a lack of data of investment in the informal sector, he said.
The government should also spend a remarkable amount of money on research and development so that the real data can be obtained to take proper action, he said.
Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of CPD, said, “The private sector is an integrated part of the SDGs, unlike the millennium development goals.”
Khondaker Golam Moazzem, additional research director of CPD, said the implementation of SDGs is a global issue now.
Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation, said misunderstanding can be created among the civil society members, NGOs, private sector and the government on various issues.
“We should have a common understanding. Nothing will happen if we do not have transparent and accountable institutions,” Anam said. Unless the SDGs are accepted by the mass people, it will not be implemented, she added.
Bangladesh's economy is highly dependent on the private sector and exports, said Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, vice-president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Remittances from migrant workers are also contributing a lot to the economy, he added.
Perennial crisis of power and gas in the industrial units is one of the challenges to achieving the goals, he said. “We also want to see diversification of export products,” Mohiuddin said.
MA Mannan, state minister for finance and planning, said the government will hold dialogues with the private sector to implement the SDGs.
The government has a plan to build a mega town where at least 30 million people can reside, to reduce the burden on Dhaka city, he said.
Abul Kasem Khan, former president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called for recycling of goods, to save the environment.
“Land use should be in a planned way and land zoning is very important for us. We need to reduce Dhaka-centric urbanisation. We need a public-private planning mechanism,” Khan said.
“The quality of public procurement is very important. We should not hold sporadic dialogue. We need a liveable Dhaka city,” said Syed Nasim Manzur, president of MCCI, while moderating the discussion.