Bangladesh economy has grown in the last three years at a pace similar to that targeted in the seventh five-year plan although the sixth plan has missed the target by a large margin.
The government’s midterm review on the 7th plan stretching from 2016 to 2020 suggests that the country achieved actual growth of 7.42 percent or 99.73 percent of targeted 7.44 percent average growth.In the previous five-year plan, the achievement was 6.3 percent growth or 86.30 percent against the targeted 7.3 percent.
“In terms of growth, the country’s performance was quite impressive,” said Dr Shamsul Alam, member of the General Economics Division (GED) that presented the midterm review at a function in the capital on Sunday.
Planning Minister MA Mannan underscored the need for addressing the issue of ‘lack of data’ towards monitoring the progress of implementation of various plans like the 7th Five-Year Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the same time, the share of agriculture in GDP has been declining for the past few decades because of structural transformation, while contribution of industry and service sectors has soared.
Dr Alam said despite various challenges, the growth performance of the industrial sector and manufacturing sector has been quite impressive in particular.
Meanwhile, service sector has also turned out to be a dominant sector.“It’s very good news that local RMG industry has found new export market while witnessing export growth at the same time,” the minister commented.
Noted economist Prof Mustafizur Rahman suggested holding bilateral discussions with some key export markets for getting preferential access because the country will lose preference after LDC graduation.
The planning minister expressed concern over growing inequality, especially regional inequality and non-availability of data both in terms of quantity and quality.
“We’ve deficit in availability of data both in quality and quantity. We’ll take the matter to the highest level of the government on how to move forward. We may undertake reforms in this regard,” he said.
About the review, he said that progress is already there on alleviating poverty, addressing inequality and regional disparity and more needs to be done in this regard.
Because of over 7 percent growth rate during the first two years of the 7th FYP, per capita GNI has continued to rise to $1,751 in FY2018 from $1,465 from FY2016.
This per capita income rise patterns suggest that Bangladesh is on course to attain an upper middle-income country by 2030, according to the GED.
Dr Shamsul Alam went through some challenges towards implementation of the 7th Five-Year Plan, including resource mobilization, unplanned urbanization, utilization of resources, skills development and quality education, LDC graduation, governance challenges and taming inequality and regional disparity.
The total investment under the plan will amount to $409.01 billion in constant 2015-16 prices; 90.04 percent of which will be financed from domestic resources and 9.6 percent from the external resources.
Since the growth of Bangladesh is mostly driven by investment and exports, the investment ratio to GDP has reached 31.8 percent in FY2018 whereas the target is 34.4 percent by FY2020.