Bangladesh needs more investment in infrastructure
At a webinar on Sunday, experts said that Bangladesh needed to have a vibrant bond market to meet the country's requirement for long-term financing for infrastructure development. Additionally, channelling the huge amount of liquidity presently available in the banking sector into bonds could also help to meet our massive infrastructure investment needs. Despite Bangladesh's recent boom in infrastructure development, there is no doubt that the country is still lagging behind most of the developed and developing countries. Moreover, we must remember that the scale of the country's investment must be on par with the future needs of its population, which is clearly many times more than what it has been. Therefore, we couldn't agree more with the experts that Bangladesh should try and utilise every available channel to finance its infrastructure projects.
So far, it has been clear that the amount of local funds currently available is far too inadequate to cover for our infrastructure needs. Depending on the banking sector alone will not suffice. And an over-reliance on foreign funds—whether that be in the form of loans or aid—may be detrimental for our long-term development dreams. That's why it is essential for Bangladesh to build its own financing capacity, while simultaneously looking to increase foreign investments.
What is important to remember is that, in the long run, investing in infrastructure will give us substantial returns in the form of faster economic growth, more job creation, etc. However, that will be possible only if our investments are made smartly. In line with that, Bangladesh must also seek to better utilise its resources. In recent years, cost overruns and time extensions have become the norm when it comes to most of our development projects. That is a major issue that the authorities must immediately address and resolve.
As experts have pointed out, there are many creative ways for Bangladesh to raise funds. That includes availing foreign currency solutions, for which the country has to focus on attracting commercial loans and bond investments. Improving our sovereign credit rating will also help us get better financing deals. Therefore, the authorities have a lot of options to look into for long-term financing. Making proper use of them is now the biggest challenge.