Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– World Bank (WB) Chief Economist Kaushik Basu has identified two major challenges –weak infrastructure facilities and bureaucratic tangle –on the way for achieving desire economic growth of Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh will have to improve its infrastructure facilities with upgrading its rank in the cost of doing business index,” Dr. Basu said at a press conference in the capital Dhaka on Tuesday.
He also suggested Bangladesh to be cautious on financial stability saying since the global scenario can be changed anytime it should alert on this issue.
The WB chief economist assured that he would help to enhance the WB’s support to Bangladesh for its infrastructure and other developments.
To reply a question, Dr. Basu said the past experience on the Padma Bridge construction project with the WB has somehow become boon for Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh is now building the bridge with its own fund. It proves Bangladesh has its own financial strength to implement such a big project,” he explained.
The economist said: “Just think, could Bangladesh able to implement such a big project (with its own fund) 10 years ago? Now it can. So thanks to the history (with the WB), the outcome has brought a good result for Bangladesh.”
Sketching a better picture of Bangladesh’s macro-economy even after the impact of the global financial meltdown, the WB chief economist said Bangladesh’s economy has now taken off.
“I have already checked the statistical data of the Bangladesh’s economy. But after the last four days visit here, now I feel that the country’s economy is much better than the statistics,” he observed.
Dr. Basu has visited some projects including a ready-made garment (RMG) factory.
He has observed three things: i) a very good work condition, ii) its financial transaction through mobile banking, and iii) sensitivity to the environment after visiting the apparel factory.
But he knows that all the factories are not like this one, and they need to improve many, but they will follow that one.
After my visit here he thinks this country is going to be a new “Asian Tiger” in the near future.
When asked about the growing foreign exchange reserve position and lower investment, Dr Basu said: “Higher reserve is a back-up for a country. It helps to improve the ranking in the global market.”
Bangladesh should also work to boost its local investment in addition to the foreign investments, he noted.
About the poor investment-GDP ratio, he said: “The 29.0 per cent investment-GDP ratio is remarkably good. India has crossed 30 per cent investment-GDP ratio in 2003.”
He hoped that Bangladesh would cross the 30 per cent ratio shortly. “And achievement of 34.0 per cent investment-GDP ratio will not be challenging for the country within 2-3 years.”
Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman, BB Chief Economist Dr Biru Paksha Paul and WB acting country director in Bangladesh Martin Rama were present at the press conference.
Mr Basu arrived in Dhaka on Saturday for a five-day visit on Dec 12. He met Prime Minister, Finance Minister, attended an international workshop and visited some projects.
The WB chief economist is scheduled to leave Dhaka Wednesday morning.