Monday, 2 October, 2023

Digital Bangladesh initiative propels country forward

Digital Bangladesh initiative propels country forward
Mahbubur Rahman, Former President, FBCCI

The Smart Bangladesh initiative undertaken by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina following the implementation of Digital Bangladesh initiative is the most significant and far-sighted vision of the century, because developed countries have already become smart countries. Even many developing countries are making significant strides towards this transformation.

In future, the countries that will stay ahead in using technology will be in the most advantageous position in the field of trade, international transactions and communication. Bangladesh has already made much progress towards becoming a smart country thanks to the Digital Bangladesh initiative taken nearly a decade and a half ago by Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Our economic growth proved resilient even during the two-year-long Covid-19 pandemic.

We have to increase production capacity to sustain the economic growth. To that end, we have to try our level best to keep the supply chain uninterrupted in industrial, agricultural and other crucial sectors.

Credit goes to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for increasing electricity generation capacity from 4,000 MW to 25,000 MW. Her personal endeavours worked like a tonic in this regard as she rightly realised that without electricity the spirit and the purpose of economy will not be achieved.

But it is a matter of regret that we couldn’t ensure maximum utilisation of our electricity generation capacity. Our current electricity generation stands at 14,000 MW. Rest of the capacity is lying unused, whereas we are importing electricity in want of fuel. I hope the premier will take the matter into consideration by giving the energy sector top priority.

Physical infrastructure is the main catalyst of accelerating industrial development and economic growth. The Padma Bridge, elevated expressway, four lane highway, metro rail, Karnaphuli tunnel and many other infrastructures are contributing to our progress. Implementation of all of these mega projects are manifestations of her foresighted leadership.

In the communication sector, railway plays a pivotal role in transportation of goods and movement of the people. We are seemingly lagging behind in modernisation and expansion of our railways. It will not be possible to serve the 17 crore people only by bus. So modernization and expansion of railways is very important. In Dhaka city the government has already introduced metro rail; I hope the service will be further extended.

Besides, there is no alternative to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership to sustain the country’s impressive agricultural revolution. In order to move forward, we are working to make the agricultural industry climate-friendly rather than being climate-dependent. We are going to hold a one-day conference in Dhaka with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on August 2.

In this year's budget, there was a proposal to give judicial power to income tax officials. If income tax officials need to be given judicial discretion, then what is the necessity of having courts? Income tax officials should not be given judicial power in any way. This is not rational and the Income Tax department needs to be completely overhauled. It is absolutely necessary.

Last but not least, given the way congestion is increasing day by day on Dhaka-Chattogram highway, it will become dysfunctional in no time. I heard a plan is afoot to turn it into an eight-lane highway, but it will not be possible to implement it even in the next 20 years because of complexities over land acquisition and other issues. The only way out is to turn it into an elevated expressway. I hope the government will consider the issue on a priority basis.