More To Grow

Southasia - - 13 -

Though Bangladesh has shown steady growth and has added 1.2 mil­lion new jobs ev­ery year, re­sult­ing in im­proved job qual­ity over the past ten years, much more needs to be done be­fore the coun­try can com­fort­ably em­bark on the road to eco­nomic progress. The World Bank pre­dicts that Bangladesh needs to cre­ate 1.5 mil­lion new jobs each year for the next 20 years to ac­cel­er­ate growth.

The World Bank has iden­ti­fied five key ob­sta­cles that need to be ad­dressed ur­gently; lack of electricity, po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, cor­rup­tion, lack of ac­cess to land and complicated tax ad­min­is­tra­tion. Un­re­li­a­bil­ity of elec- tric­ity can cause se­vere de­lays in pro­duc­tion and can be costly to self­gen­er­ate. Power out­age could cost Bangladesh $1 bil­lion a year, re­duc­ing GDP growth by about 0.5 per­cent. While Bangladesh shows greater po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity than Afghanistan, cor­rup­tion and bribery is ram­pant and serves as a ma­jor hin­drance to eco­nomic progress. The tax sys­tem is un­re­li­able and as many of the elite evade taxes, in­dus­try and eco­nomic growth de­te­ri­o­rates. The com­po­si­tion of em­ploy­ment has not changed be­tween un­skilled la­bor­ers, wage earn­ers and the self-em­ployed but the salaries have been ad­justed for in­fla­tion and as real wages in­crease, poverty re­duces.

The re­port sug­gests that apart from ad­dress­ing key eco­nomic ar­eas, a strong em­pha­sis on ed­u­ca­tion, de­mo­graphic di­vides and qual­ity job cre­ation is needed. Bangladesh will be un­able to pros­per if it does not in­vest dili­gently in the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor.

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