Dhaka, Bangladesh
Bangladesh heading for high-growth club

Editorial

Bangladesh heading for high-growth club

GDP growth rates in Bangladesh during recent years are the highest in country's history, but the pace of poverty reduction has been rather slowing. Financial experts already viewed that the benefits of high economic growth has not flown to the poor and marginal class of people. Even some of the global agencies including Asian Development Bank (ADB) said the fruits of higher growth have not been diffused to lower classes of the society. Bangladesh's tremendous growth momentum has highly been endorsed by Standard Chartered saying that the country will be richer than Indians by 2030, because per capita income of the country will grow nearly four times throughout the 2020s. Seven countries namely India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast will have the potential to be members of "7 per cent growth club" in the 2020s. As regards Bangladesh, against the encouraging growth momentum, questions persist among economists that the quality of economic growth has not been able to make that much reduction of poverty. Poverty continues to decline in Bangladesh at a slower pace since 2010 against more than 6.5 per cent economic growth annually during the period, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), between 2010 and 2016, the percentage of poor people dropped to 24.3 per cent of the population, registering a decline at a yearly rate of 1.2 per cent. The percentage of poor people decreased further to 21.8 percent last year. Given the current pace of poverty reduction, Bangladesh would be able to eradicate poverty by 2030 as set in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said the experts. Earlier, Zahid Hussain, lead economist at the World Bank's Dhaka office, told journalists that the pace of poverty reduction during a period when GDP growth accelerated is indeed a puzzle, the benefits of growth did not trickle down as much as it used to flow, he opined. According to the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), high GDP growth over the past few years has not led to large-scale job creation and the country is witnessing a phase of jobless growth. The country posted more than seven per cent GDP growth in the last three fiscal years and is estimated to go past the eight per cent mark this fiscal year. Now Bangladesh has to march ahead with not only to increase growth rate but diffusion of resources to all strata of the society. The authorities and policymakers have to draw both short term and long term prospective planning to attain both the objectives in the best interest of the country.

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