Visiting Asian Development Bank president Takehiko Nakao on Wednesday lauded the country’s economic progress, but stressed the need for improving investment climate, higher revenue mobilisation and addressing inequality, in order to sustain it.
During a briefing in the capital, he said the high economic growth that reached 7.3 per cent in 2017 has already enabled Bangladesh to attain middle income status and cut poverty from about 49 per cent in 2000 to 24 per cent in 2016.
‘Sustaining this progress, however, will require an improved investment climate for the private sector, better revenue mobilisation and continued prudent macroeconomic management,’ he said.
He also noted that the country’s tax-GDP ratio was one of the lowest as well as the foreign direct investment.
Asked to comment on the country’s growing disparity between rich and poor during the past four decades, Nakao said Bangladesh like many developed countries was suffering from inequality.
He said that the country should address the growing inequality for the sake of ‘sustainable economic growth and political stability’.
The ADB president, who arrived in the capital on Tuesday on his second visit here in four years, also focussed on issues like Rohingyas, next general election and possibility of higher lending, while responding to queries from the newsmen.
Nakao said ADB, if requested, would help the government to address the crisis of handling the humanitarian emergency caused by the influx of over 688,00 Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar from Myanmar since October.
In the morning, Nakao met with prime minister Sheikh Hasina after he had a meeting with finance minister AMA Muhith on Tuesday evening.
He said ADB would consider requests from the government to higher lending in addition to its commitment of US$8 billion up to 2020 from 2016.
He also said ADB would consider financing the second Padma Bridge adding that the fund would be available on basis of three-year country assessment and feasibility of the project study.
He ruled out the detail that the ADB’s lending programme would reduce during the country’s graduation period as a middle income country from the current year.
Commenting on the present government’s intention to elevate the country to a developed economy status by 2041, Nakao said the task was not easy, while not entirely impossible.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Banking