Next 5-year plan to boost growth, says minister
The next five-year development plan will boost growth and investment and attach importance to the country's impoverished regions, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said yesterday.
"We will have to include the poor living in char, coastal and haor areas in the plan," he said while speaking at a meeting with businesspeople and bankers, at the National Economic Council in the city.
He said the seventh development plan must take into consideration the growing number of population in urban cities.
At present, 54 percent people in the world live in cities, which will soar to 68 percent by 2050, the minister said.
"So, we have to keep that in mind while formulating the plan," the ministry quoted Kamal in a statement as saying.
The minister also said the lending rates have to be lowered to create investment-friendly climate in the country. Banks are lacking confidence when it comes to lending as many unscrupulous businessmen have defaulted on their loans, he said.
"Besides, the capital market is not being strengthened for various reasons."
The minister also touched upon the recent Asian Development Bank's report that says only 4 percent of the country's roads are in good shape.
"This report has taught us that we are capable of building 100 percent good quality roads," Kamal said.
Speaking at the meeting, Abu Taher, president of the Bangladesh Finished Leather and Leather Goods and Footwear Association, said fiscal incentives and loans at low interest rates and on easy conditions can help the country grab a large share of the global leather goods market. At present, Bangladesh exports leather goods and products worth $1 billion while the global market is worth $220 billion.
Bangladesh should diversify its export basket, said Obaidur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Aluminium Manufacturers Association.
Representatives from Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services said Bangladesh has failed to grab any significant share of the global software market worth $700 billion.
Leaders of Bangladesh Handicrafts Manufacturers and Exporters Association said five crafts villages have to be set up for the sector where utilities would be easily available.
The government should extend assistance to the handicrafts sector as it employs the second highest number of women workers after the garment sector, one representative of the association said, according to the statement.