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POST TIME: 2 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Boosting the middle class for better Bangladesh

Boosting the middle class for better Bangladesh

Underlining the phenomenal progress Bangladesh has made in the elevation of the middle class in the last two decades, noted economists as well as eminent social thinkers have said that with more incentives and stress on good governance, middle class people will increase, easing Bangladesh’s rise to middle income status. We concur with the view that unless this country has an educated and enlightened middle class, with opportunities to ensure improved lifestyle, overall social elevation will atrophy.

Since the tumultuous period of the 70s and 80s, when poverty and Bangladesh were synonymous, we have come a long way, thanks to steady remittance from overseas workers, development of local infrastructure supported by a countrywide explosion of entrepreneurial impulse. Despite many hurdles, sporadic political turmoil and other unforeseen tribulations, Bangladesh’s middle class number stood at 50 million in 2015 – a clear indication that a significant number of people have improved lifestyle.

But we cannot be complacent because there is much more to achieve. The World Bank’s Doing Business Report paints a dismal ranking for Bangladesh which will repulse investors. While local business conglomerates have invested heavily in the manufacturing sector, more foreign investment is needed. Economists have called for transparent governance though we feel that accountability in employment is also essential.

The general social condition of people will see a rise when they have better jobs in local and in multinational organisations. Unfortunately, in the latter, Bangladeshis still languish in lower or mid positions, whereas the top posts are inevitably given to foreigners, who are often mediocre. Presence of such a discriminatory culture is a grave impediment to the full usage of social potential.

When social thinkers call for high paid jobs for locals, they need to highlight emphatically the prejudiced practice endemic in international organisations which, under the façade of ‘equal chances for all’, perpetuate an abhorrent policy of relegating local talent. The country’s robust foreign exchange reserve is due to the uninterrupted flow of remittance and, as we laud our workers abroad, we feel that Bangladesh now has enough talent to compete for white collar jobs in the international market. Centuries of oppression in the past have insidiously injected in us a sense of mediocrity which is still being exploited with subtlety.

Bangladesh has a sizeable expatriate workforce in developed countries; it’s time we begin looking at opportunities to capture professional posts in the global market. Noted social thinkers have missed one point: we already have skilled educated people here, but they are being deliberately held back by others.