If there is political stability economic growth will be higher definitely said commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, M.P. while delivering his speech as the Chief Guest at Dialogue on Sustainable development Goals : Challenges for Bangladesh organized by ICC Bangladesh in Dhaka on Sunday, 20 March. He mentioned that if the 7th five year plan is properly implemented then it will help us a lot to achieve SDGs and the country’s export will reach US$60 billion by the end of 7th Plan. He thanked ICC Bangladesh President Mahbubur Rahman as well as other business leaders for working hand in hand with the government in different developmental issues. The Minister mentioned that the Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina believes in providing all necessary support to the ;private sector as they are the main actor for attaining higher growth.
Commerce Minister pointed out that Bangladesh is the 2nd largest garment exporter in the world and BGMEA has set a target for the textile sector to reach US$50 billion export by 2021. All these targets are achievable if private sector and public sector work together.
ICC Bangladesh President Mahbubur Rahman in his welcome address said Bangladesh has successfully come out from LDC to a lower middle income group. However, in order to be categorized as a middle income country by 2021, Bangladesh has to consistently maintain the status for the next six years. But without a solid industrial base, enhanced public and private investment, adequate infrastructure, un-interrupted power supply, exploration of natural resources (gas, coal etc.), skilled works force etc., it will be difficult to sustain the present growth rate or even achieve higher growth which needs to be 7.5 to 8 percent in the coming years.
World Bank Lead Economist Dr. Zahid Hussain in his key note address mentioned that achieving the SDGs in all countries will require additional global investment in the range of US$ 5 -7 trillion per year. He said that MDGs achievements of Bangladesh has been remarkable as the country has achieved four out of eight goals. He further observed that building up a confidence to tackle the challenges of SDGs is needed and at the same time some goals are difficult where lot of investments, financial and non financial will be required. Ending poverty and hunger in all forms will mean eliminating them in all areas of the country. Gender equality will require major changes in the law of inheritance, besides eliminating harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage. Availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all will need heavy investment in infrastructure and technology. Climate and environment actions will need extensive international support to policies and creation of public awareness. Bangladesh will need to prioritize the goals in order to ensure it meets the targets, said Zahid Hossain.
Prof. Wahiduddin Mahmud,Professor of Economics, University of Dhaka & Former Advisor to the Caretaker Government in his comments said prioritization is needed to achieve SDGs, he emphasized the health and education sector for investment and urged that not only investment but environment friendly investment is needed. He also mentioned that urbanization will be a key issue for Sustainable Development. In achieving MDGs solution was low cost but for SDGs solution will be higher cost. It will be challenging for Bangladesh, he added. Dr. A. B. Mirza Md. Azizul Islam.
Former Advisor to the Caretaker Government in his remarks emphasized that goals-3 health sector where private sector can play important role and they should have more CSR programme instead of providing some charitable assistance. He observed that Bangladesh has not been able to utilize billions of dollars of development assistance as a result of which ADP ( annual development plans) implementation have suffered substantial.
Mr. Nick Beresford, Deputy Country Director, UNDP-Bangladesh explained about the SDGs and assured that UNDP is committed to support Bangladesh in implementing programme to achive SDGs. Dr. Mustafa K. Mujeri, Executive Director, Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM) said to achieve MDGs restructuring the development agenda is very much needed and new innovative ideas have to developed. Prof. Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) emphasized on inclusive development. Dr. M. Masrur Reaz, Program Manager, IFC, World Bank Group said for SDGs public and private sector should work together with very specific strategy. Mir Nasir Hossain, Managing Director, Mir Akhter Hossain Limited mentioned that private sector investment must reach 35% of GDP as without investment employment opportunities will not be created and a result of which the country will face major challenges to achieve some of the key SDGs. Syed Nasim Manzur, MCCI President emphasized more investment in skills and education sector. He mentioned that domestic priorities are very important. Mr. Asif Ibrahim, Chairman, Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD ) said SMEs can play an important role to achieve SDGs. European Union Ambassador H.E. Mr. Pierre Mayaudon said Bangladesh has FDI friendly environment. He pointed out between 2030 Bangladesh has another objectives of 2021. He emphasized that governance and transparency will be the key to success for Bangladesh. Former Amchame Chairman Aftab ul Islam emphasized the need for institution building, in particular in IT sector in view of the country’s moving into digitations.
The dialogue was also attended by ICCB Vice President Rokia Afzal Rahman, BTMA President Tapan Chowdhury, IMF Resident Representative Stella Kaendera; Chinese Ambassador MA Ming Qiang; Chairman PRI Dr. Zaidi Sattar; former FBCCI President A.K. Azad, former BGMEA President Anwarul Alam Chowdhury (Parvez); former BKMEA President Md. Fazlul Hoque; ICCB Executive Board Members A.S.M. Quasem, Mahbub Jamil, Rashed Maksud Khan, Waliur Rahman Bhuiyan, OBE; Abdul Muyeed Chowdhury, Chairman, BRAC Net Ltd.; Dr. Toufiq Ali, CEO Kafco; former DCCI President Matiur Rahman, DCCI Vice President Atique-E-Rabbani and ASM Mainuddin Monem, Deputy Managing Director, Abdul Monem Limited among others.