This newspaper ran two reports yesterday that revealed a positive picture of the economy's future.
The first one describes the government's plan to provide a handful of incentives including tax exemptions to the pharmaceutical ingredients manufacturers, with a view to capitalising on the patent waiver for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products extended to the least developed countries. The second report underscores the bright prospect of the ceramics industry, highlighting the fact that new investors are pouring money into this industry, creating new jobs.
The experts have long emphasised on the need for Bangladesh to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on the garment industry. In that context, the government's incentive to the pharmaceutical industry and the new flow of investment in the ceramics industry might prove crucial for the economy.
In the first case, if the government's incentive eventually convinces the investors to set up reagent production factories in the country, it would certainly reduce import of raw materials worth Tk 50 billion. Bangladesh is currently the only LDC that produces pharmaceuticals, thus enjoys the patent waiver. If the production cost decreases due to the availability of raw materials at a low rate in the domestic market, Bangladeshi pharmaceutical industry would enjoy a competitive advantage over its counterparts in other countries.
The government should identify similar export-oriented industries and provide them with such incentives. As a growing economy and a populous nation, it is imperative for our government to help the industries create more jobs to realise our full economic potential. And the more we diversify our economy the safer we are in the long run.