Bangladesh has made a visible but remarkable economic progress and success in the last 50 years of Bangladesh when celebrating the golden jubilee of our independence and it has changed many economic and socio-economic indicators than that of other South Asian countries. It has made a tremendous economic growth after 90's decade, poverty has been reduced by fifty percent, women's contribution in the economic force has been gone up remarkably, reduced the rate of birth, increased longevity of age, reduced children death rate, increased education rate of male and female, increased per capita income and size of GDP and many more economic parameters. Some of the indicators are more progressive and advanced than that of India, Pakistan and other Asian countries. Nobel laureates economist Dr. Amartya Sen laudable mentioned the progress and success of Bangladesh economy on several occasions.
The size of the economy in Bangladesh has increased manifold in the last 50 years, the size of the economy in 1972 was Tk. 48.95 billion but at present prevails Tk. 11.306 trillion, foreign currency reserve is US$ 42 billion. Per capita income was US$ 129 in 1972 but now stands US$ 2064 in 2020. After three years of Independence of Bangladesh in 1975, the GDP growth rate was only 2.75% but now on average is more than 6% and it was 7% in the fiscal year 2019-20.
UK based research institution Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) forecasts a report in December 2019 which said after 12 years in 2032, Bangladesh will be the 25th largest economy of the world.
Now Bangladesh position is 41th and then it would be the 24th position and it will exceed the economy of Malaysia, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Vietnam and South Africa. It also said after 15 years, the growth of Bangladesh economy will be more than 7 percent, the total GDP was Tk. 11.306 trillion in constant prices in 2019 and it will be Tk. 29.153 trillion in 2033.
Washington based Heritage Foundation publishes Economic Freedom Index every year where Bangladesh scored 55.6 in 2019 index and Bangladesh position was 121th but India secured 129th, Pakistan 131th and Nepal 136th. Bangladesh's position was 27th among 43 countries of Asia and Pacific reasons. The Heritage Foundation states that economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labor and property. In an economically free society, governments allow labor, capital, and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself.
If we analyze the economic parameters between 1972 to 2020 of Bangladesh, then it has been found that poverty has been reduced drastically in that time. Poverty rate in 1972 was 88% but in 2019 it was 19% and the extreme poverty rate was 10% at the end of June 2020. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), number of extreme poverty in 2010 was 25.80 million but in June 2019 was 16.00 million. Sustainable Development Goals report 2020, Bangladesh was 109th among the 166 countries and 5th in South Asian countries. It also said that Bangladesh is more advanced than India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and Bangladesh is the right track of poverty reduction policy.
After the liberation war, due to food shortage and various International conspiracy, the inflation rate was 47% in that time but now it has turned down 6% only. National savings rate was 2% of GDP from 1972-73 to 1979-80 but now it stands at 31% of GDP. Budget allocation per person was Tk. 112 for 70 million in 1972 but now it stands Tk. 20,000 per head for a more than 165 million population. During the last 50 years, dependency on the foreign loan has reduced drastically and in the same time, increases the internal sources of loan sanctions. Presently we have only 15% foreign loans of the GDP and it is being considered 40% as standard and safety as per the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) rules.
During the last 50 years, Per capita income was US$ 129 in 1972 but now it stands US$ 2064 in 2020. Success stories have been found in controlling the birth rate and presently it prevails 1.30% which is 1.40% average in South Asian cases and 2.1% in low income countries. Longevity of people aged was 46 years in 1972 but now it expands 72.6 years whereas the South Asian average is 65 years. New born baby death rate is 70 per thousand in low income countries, 52 per thousand in South Asia whereas in Bangladesh it is only 35 per thousand.
Bangladesh has already been considered to be upgraded to Developing Country from Least Developed Country (LDC) which is formally declared by the United Nations Committee for Development Policy (UN- CDP) but Bangladesh has to wait till 2026 i.e., five years hence. Bangladesh, before the advent of Covid-19, was set to exit the group in 2024. In response to a recent intervention by the government of Bangladesh, the UN-CDP has agreed to extend the transition period by two more years. Bangladesh has met all the three eligibility criteria for graduation involving income per capita, human assets, and economic and environmental vulnerability. Incidentally, the same has been done for three other graduating countries, namely Nepal, Bhutan and Laos.
World Bank and IMF said, 6% continuous GDP growth has made momentum the rural economy and this is possible because 8.00 million expatriates send remittances regularly, 4.00 million male and female workers are running the Readymade Garments Industries and millions of farmers are cultivating agriculture land in two seasons. On the other hand, government has set social safety programme for the backward peoples of 4.00 million in rural and urban areas. The social safety cost of Bangladesh government is equivalent to India but more than that of Nepal, Pakistan and Srilankan government. Economists viewed that the empowerment of women empowerment in the workforce has a significant contribution in our GDP as well as our national economy. IMF said that the Microcredit programme of Grameen Bank, BRAC and such NGOs have also a good contribution in the rural economy.
In the last five decades, a lot of manufacturing industries has been established in our country, 4.00 million male and female are being employed in Readymade Garments Factories, remarkably increases export, significant GDP growth has been made, foreign currency reserve touches a milestone and as a result, government is very confident to construct Padma Bridge, Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant, Bangabandhu Satellite, Karnaphuli River Tunnel, Payra Seaports, Metrorail & Elevated Express project in Dhaka city and such many mega projects. Government can acclaimed the credibility of boosting economic growth, development and progress in every sector. Bangladesh is going ahead as a good for all economic parameters and once Henry Kissinger undermined Bangladesh as a "country of bottomless basket". But now Bangladesh is a promising economy and a role model of economic development and progress for many countries.
Md. Zillur Rahaman is a banker and freelance contributor .
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