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6 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Bottlenecks towards competing with South Asian nations

We still have a long way to go in order to reach the middle income status
Sk. Faijan Bin Halim
Bottlenecks towards competing with South Asian nations

2021 is the year in which Bangladesh will hopefully enlist itself as an upper middle income country. It has achieved steady progress and is recognised as a competitive nation among the South Asian countries. Though there is still an opportunity to get all external benefits and foreign assistance up to 2027, we should consider some other aspects before entering the middle income club. Considering the population growth rate, Bangladesh witnessed a declining trend from 2000 to 2016. Now we have a population growth rate of 1.08 percent from 2016 which was 1.95 percent in 2000. Neighbouring countries like India has 1.14 percent, Pakistan 1.99 percent, Sri Lanka 1.12 percent and the highest in Afghanistan 2.68 percent according to 2016 records. Our female workforce is on the rise with 34 percent engaged in the labour force, according to 2017 database, which is higher than India (24 percent), Pakistan (22 percent) and Afghanistan (17 percent), that is definitely a good fortune for our country. Our poverty gap at national poverty line also decreased from 12.8 percent in 2000 to 6.5 percent in 2010.

According to World Bank estimate, the position of Bangladesh in case of gini index is lower than Nepal but slightly higher than Pakistan. When it comes to the basic facilities in our country, we still need to develop our sanitation and improve water source facilities. It is seen that 60 percent population of our country get proper sanitation facilities, whereas the percentage of Maldives and Nepal is far better than ours because they maintain it by 98 percent and 95 percent respectively.

It is good that we are still ahead than our neighbouring countries like India (39.6 percent), Afghanistan (32 percent), Bhutan (50.4 percent) and Nepal (45.8 percent). According to WDI database 2015, 86.9 percent population in our country have the opportunity to get water from improved sources. Although we are lagging behind from other South Asian nations, we are still in a better position than Afghanistan (55.3 percent).

It is quite surprising that Bhutan maintains it 100 percent. It is alarming for us that these two issues play a key role in achieving the SDG goals; therefore, respective authorities in our country should design a proper roadmap in improving this particular scenario keeping in line with the UN’s “Leaving No One Behind”. It is quite pathetic that, we are at the bottom in case of ensuring electricity facilities among the South Asian nations.

Bhutan and Maldives ensure 100 percent electricity facilities from 2015, we are falling behind in this case as well. We are hopeful to achieve the milestone within the next one or two years by the fortune of our mega projects that are currently ongoing.

We have to zoom in our focus on carbon emission for ensuring a healthy environment. It is also a matter of regret that Bangladesh ranks second position after India in carbon emission.

One of the positives, a good one at that is the fact that Bangladesh now exports high tech machineries to other countries and the set up of new the EZ and SEZ opens new opportunities for Bangladesh in case of receiving high foreign exchange.

Keeping all in mind, we still have a long way to go in order to reach the middle income country status. For that to happen, we have to overcome all the barriers currently holding us back.

    The writer is a freelancer

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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