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Habibulla Masum
The private sector and foreign investment in the country’s development have been playing a vital role towards achieving the ambitious global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by 2030.
The private sector has been the driver of economic growth in Bangladesh like in many other developing countries (77 percent of total investments comes from private sector). A large number of targets of SDGs are related to growth, employment, and the delivery of key services such as education, health and sanitation, which cannot be achieved without the active participation of the private sector.
In order to achieve these goals through greater involvement of the private sector, there has to be a framework of how these two actors can work in tandem.
Total Investment outlay of the 7th FYP is $407 billion, of which share of the private sector is 77.3 percent (USD 314 billion), and share of public sector is 22.7 per cent (USD 93 billion). Gross Domestic Investment as percent of GDP would need to increase from 28.97 percent to 34.4 percent during the plan period. FDI is supposed to increase from $2.25 billion to $9.56 billion.
General Economic Division reports say, SDG financing strategy of Bangladesh would require $928bn additional funding from 2018 -2030 to fully implement the 17 goals, 169 targets and 232 indicators of the 2030 agenda for SDGs. The magnitude of domestic resources requirement is 85.11 percent and external resources contribution is 14.89 percent. In meeting the local resource requirement, equivalent to $789.82b, the private sector has the major share to finance the SDGs.
According to Medium Term Macroeconomic Framework, investment as percentage of GDP needs to be 34.5% by the 2019-2020 fiscal in order to accelerate the GDP growth.
DCCI reports say, Bangladesh requires $320 billion private sector investment only in infrastructure to become the world’s 30th largest economy by 2030, which could be pressed to achieve the SDGs.
PWC’s report on ‘make it your business: Engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals’, 71 % of businesses say they are already planning how they will engage with the SDGs, 90% of citizens say it is important for business to sign up to the SDGs, 41% businesses say they will embed SDGs into strategy and the way they do business, within five years, and 13% of business have identified the tools they need to assess their impact against the SDGs.
The largest share of the employed population (60.9 percent) belongs to individual proprietorship category, followed by (20.8 percent) household activities, 13.6 per cent in the private category.
Even in the higher education level, private sector has been serving a total of 1.74 million students through general colleges. Also 90 private universities are providing higher education to 0.354 million students.
TVET survey says, there are 605 technical training centres in Bangladesh. Of them, 166 are public with 27.4 percent while 439 are private with 72.6 per cent.
Ensuring healthy lives SDG-3 by increasing medical and health service coverage to different classes of the people cannot be achieved without active involvement of the private sector. At present, there are 4280 registered private hospitals and clinics and 9061 diagnostic centers in Bangladesh.
To fulfill the SDG-7, the government has also approved four solar power plants having a combined capacity of 258 MW, all from the private sector.
In revenue generation, the existing corporate tax rate for publicly traded companies is at 25 percent, and for private traded companies, 35 percent.
Abul Kasem Khan, President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) said that the DCCI feels that increased participation of the private industrial investment will be needed to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals. From ports to roads, we will have many areas that need to be upgraded from the current status.
He said, to accelerate the infrastructure implementation, building investors’ confidence, ensuring coordination, and seeing to the best use of investment, we need deeper engagement of the private sector in the development planning, under the public-private platform.