Time to diversify
The dynamism of the Bangladesh economy in recent years has been nothing if not admirable.
But it is concerning to see declining export numbers — our export growth, though nothing to scoff at, has not kept pace with our economic growth.
Our ready-made garments sector has formed the backbone of our exporting sector, earning a staggering $28 billion last fiscal out of a total of $34bn in export earnings for the country — over 80%.
While the country owes a great debt to its mighty RMG sector for pushing the economy forward and creating jobs, in the long run, such overwhelming dependence on only RMG may not serve us well.
Bangladesh needs to diversify, and that means promoting other high value, potential export-oriented sectors.
For this to happen, it is absolutely imperative that the government helps create a business-friendly investment climate in order to attract private investment, both foreign and domestic.
It is time to pay more attention to sectors like pharmaceuticals, furniture, jute products, and value-added products and services.
A tremendous role can be played by information technology in enlarging our export basket, and it is good to see the government, with its vision of a Digital Bangladesh, get behind the ICT sector.
Ultimately, Bangladesh needs to become a more attractive country for business, and for that, we need to bring down the institutional barriers that make things harder for entrepreneurs.
There is so much we can learn from countries like Singapore and Switzerland, which have the world’s most business-friendly environments.
If we play our cards right, our exports numbers will no doubt pick up again.