Tuesday, 30 May, 2023

Sustainable export growth is the answer

Graduation to the developing country status is a double-edged sword: While this is a gain in itself and a matter of pride for the people of Bangladesh, it will lead to the loss of a number of significant facilities that the country enjoyed during the least developed country status. After the graduation, Bangladesh will have to face a number of fresh challenges in its economic relations with other countries and continue developing sustainably to prove its mettle. However, no challenge is going to get us cowed into vacillation and backtracking from our determination to go ahead confidently. Challenges will open before us the gate to new prospects and new possibilities.

As a least developed country, Bangladesh enjoyed preferential market facilities like duty-free and quota-free access of its commodities, especially readymade garments to developed country markets under the Generalised System of Preferences. The country also enjoyed grant and soft loan facilities in the form of concessional funding for development. Following the graduation, the country is going to lose many such facilities with their negative impact on our national economy, resulting in significant reduction of export earnings, at least at the initial stages of the developing country status. Obviously this will act as a retarding factor in our economic growth.

Against the backdrop of such mutually exclusive trends, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina – while speaking at a meeting of the National Committee on Export – highlighted the importance of stronger export performance and put emphasis on formulating a strategic export policy considering the negative impact of the loss of LDC facilities after 2026. She drew the attention of stakeholders to the food-supply crisis created by the Ukraine War and urged all concerned to establishing food processing industries with a view to boosting export. It is a matter of encouragement that many countries have already shown interest in importing food items from Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged relevant individuals and organisations to explore new markets wherever possible across the globe and emphasised the need for product diversification and expansion of export basket as a measure to counter the loss. Sustainable export growth is the country’s most appropriate response to reduction of export earnings.