Monday, 20 March, 2023

PM’s clarion call to development partners

Bangladesh is a remarkable story of development. From being one of the poorest nations at birth in 1971, it reached lower-middle income status in 2015. It is on track to graduate from the UN’s Least Developed Countries (LDC) list in 2026. But now the country is passing through a critical time, like other countries across the globe, due to the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war. The adverse impact of the unwanted conflict is sharply being felt across the country. Rising commodity prices and a surge in imports have resulted in surging inflation. This has resulted in disruption of economic activity causing currency depreciation and depletion of foreign reserves. The dismal situation poses a challenge towards achieving the country’s vision of attaining upper middle-income status by 2031.

Both Russia and Ukraine have trade relations with Bangladesh. Because of abnormal global situation, many payments remained blocked and new orders got canceled. Besides, Russia is directly involved in the country’s first nuclear power plant mega project. It is providing technical assistance as well as financial assistance for the project. Sanctions on Russia have raised concern about the loan. Bangladesh has become an innocent victim of the geopolitical crisis although the country is in no way responsible for it. This is ruining the country’s hard-earned achievements. But there seems to be no end to the harmful war which will probably linger. To overcome the crisis, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the development partners to provide soft loan to the country until normalization of global economy.

In view of the threatening global situation, the PM specially urged the IMF to come up with flexible and innovative financing for accelerating skill, health, ICT, infrastructure development, climate change and human resource development. She expressed her grave concern over the trend of increasing interest rate against loans by the development partners ignoring the unprecedented global food, fuel and financial crisis.

Bangladesh is currently the 35th largest economy in terms of GDP, and with consistent economic growth it is likely to become the 28th largest economy by 2030 and the 24th largest economy by 2036. The country is set to reach the milestone of a half trillion economy by next year. So, the development partners should keep up the provision of providing soft loans to Bangladesh to help it achieve long term development goals.