The full economic potential of the Dhaka city has remained unutilised mainly due to unplanned and unbalanced urbanisation of the city, said experts at a discussion on Thursday.
They said too many authorities and bureaucracy sometimes hampered speedy infrastructure development in Dhaka, leaving government plans unimplemented.
They made the observations while speaking at a stakeholder dialogue ‘Dhaka’s Economic Future: Opportunities and Challenges’ jointly organised by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Power and Participation Research Centre in the city.
DCCI president Abul Kasem Khan presided over the discussion while PPRC executive chairman Hossain Zillur Rahman moderated the dialogue.
World Bank chief economist for South Asia Region Martin Rama, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury, eminent urban planner professor Nazrul Islam, North South University professor Nurul Amin, former DCCI director AKD Khair Mohammad Khan, Institute of Planners general secretary Akter Mohammad, Bangladesh Institute of Planners president professor Abul Kalam, DCCI member MS Siddiqui and former Dhaka City Corporation chief engineer Md Nurullah also spoke, among others, on the occasion.
Mentioning Dhaka as a significantly grown city and one of the fastest growing cites in the world, Martin Rama said that the economic potentials of greater Dhaka was immense and a proper policy guideline could help tap this opportunities.
He said too many authorities and bureaucracy sometimes hampered speedy infrastructure development in this city.
Hossain Zillur Rahman said Dhaka has a great economic potential which has remained untapped.
‘The city has grown significantly and for some instances better than other cities of the country that does not mean that its economic potentials have been utilised fully,’ he said.
He suggested that RAJUK (Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha) should consult with the business community to include economic plan in its master plan.
Equal development of Dhaka as well as all suburbs of the country would help attain the middle-income country status, he said.
Zillur emphasised cluster-based economic zones in Dhaka to make it a connectivity hub in the country.
Abul Kasem Khan said that Dhaka’s traffic congestion alone was costing the country about Tk 20,000 to 30,000 crore every year.
He suggested taking steps to reduce the Dhaka-centric urbanisation saying that a planned and systematic overall urbanisation was needed for decentralisation of the Dhaka city from both economic and administrative perspectives.
The Dhaka Chittagong Economic Corridor can be one of the solutions to decentralisation of Dhaka, he said.
Kasem urged the government to formulate a long-term strategic plan for inner Dhaka, outer Dhaka and greater Dhaka.
He also urged for an effective and well-covered rail network across the country.
Zafrullah Chowdhury said that Dhaka had grown and it would grow further in future but peace for the poor population should be ensured by the rich for their (rich) own betterment; otherwise rich people would not be able to live peacefully.
In doing so, the businesses should get themselves involved in developing facility for the less privileged people by investing in different service sectors, he said.
Mentioning infrastructure as the primary problem of Dhaka city, Nurul Amin said that although Dhaka was getting benefits from its population density, the gains were not that much as it should be.
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