A country’s economy becomes stable and gets growing when its exports surpass its imports. There are many small size countries that export various items, both raw materials and finished goods, and earn foreign currency to sustain their economy. The story in Bangladesh is different. We import more items spending valuable foreign currency than what we export. The need for Bangladesh to increase its exports and at the same time look for new markets abroad to boost its economy has been an important issue for policy planners. In a recent meeting with leading industrialists of the country Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave utmost importance to exploring new export markets, especially because worldwide the existing markets for traditional items is not enough for our economy. The imperative therefore is to search for markets where we shall be able to export many of our non-traditional items and earn foreign exchange.
The PM rightly observed that the recent condition of the traditional markets is not good and as a result country’s export in some cases has not been satisfactory. Our traditional items are limited to jute, hide, tea and readymade garments; hence there is no alternative but to become innovative and produce new non-traditional goods. In this respect, to encourage the business community, she declared that exporters of non-traditional items will be given special incentives by the government. This may be mentioned that soft loans with only 3 per cent interest rate are being given as special incentive to find new markets abroad.
In her words, “We have to find out in which countries we can export our items in the future and what type of items they actually need.” She also hinted at our neighbouring countries where there are huge markets. The domestic market can also be expanded for Bangladeshi products to survive in the tough competitive global market.
The small entrepreneurs should seize the opportunity of the low bank interest and come up with more and more non-traditional items to attract foreign buyers.