BD Post Report
The country has been experiencing a rapid but balanced growth in all economic sectors for last few years, putting Bangladesh among the middle-income countries.
According to UN forecast, Bangladesh’s per capita income will surpass that of India by 2020, provided the country’s economy continues to deliver the market beating growth statistics it is maintaining at present.
Bangladesh has already outperformed India in social indicators such as child mortality rate, gender equality, and life expectancy.
The country’s economy achieved 7.86 GDP growth in the 2017-18 fiscal, thanks to the agriculture sector, especially the increase in rice production.
On September 18 last, planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal at an ECNEC meeting disclosed the figure.
Mentionable, the growth rate is up from the provisional estimate of 7.65 percent.
Agriculture grew 4.19 percent in 2017-18, way up from 3.06 percent in the provisional estimate, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).
Agriculture and industry sectors contributed to the increase in the GDP growth in the final count, Kamal told reporters after a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC).
At the meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was congratulated for the country’s unprecedented achievement. In recent years, the country’s service sector covered 53 percent of GDP which 20 years back was 50 percent; moreover, industrial sector increased to 31 from 21 percent while agriculture sector decreased to 15 percent from 29.
In 2002, the country’s total export was 5 percent of the GDP which was worth $98 million; in the export sector, RMG export was 3 percent which was worth $1 billion. In 2017, export increased to 34 pc of the GDP while RMG exports rose to $34 billion. That means, in 15 years, total export increased by six times and RMG exports increased by 9 times and other sectors altogether increased by two times only.
The journey of private banks started back in 1981 with the launching of Arab Bangladesh Bank. At present, the country has 57 banks, out of which 40 are private ones. In 2001, the country had 30 private banks.
Bank is the driving force of an economy. For the development of private sectors, the contribution of banks is immense. Behind the rapid expansion of RMG sector, both public and private banks played a vital role.
Usually collateral is needed for getting bank loans and most RMG entrepreneurs came out from middle and lower class families. At first they joined the sector as employees, and after achieving expertise they dared to open independent business. They did not have the ability to afford collateral. The country’s banks then introduced a new method of back to back L/C, allowing the opening of LCs to import 70 pc to 75 pc raw materials for the RMG sector with the opportunity to repay the loan after producing and exporting the products.
The government has undertaken various infrastructure projects and if they are implemented, the growth will accelerate further, the planning minister said after achieving the record highest GDP.
Data from the BBS showed poverty rate stands at 21.8 percent and extreme poverty rate at 11.3 percent in 2018, which was 23.1 percent and 12.1 percent respectively in 2017.
In this regard, the planning minister told the Bangladesh Post: “The poverty rate fell as economic growth accelerated. The government will bring down the extreme poverty rate to zero before 2030 riding on the faster economic growth.”
Mentionable, due to various entrepreneur-friendly initiatives of the government, the country’s pharmacy sector also flourished immensely during the last decade.
During the last decade, successful entrepreneurs expanded their businesses from the primary sector to a number of secondary sectors, building group of companies.
During the same time period, in agriculture sector, a silent revolution was brought about by a huge number of small and medium entrepreneurs. Establishing small or medium farms they produced fishes and hens all across the country. Most of the country’s protein demand is met by these farms.