Many aspects to achieving higher economic growth

Publish: 9:43 PM, October 18, 2021 | Update: 9:43:PM, October 18, 2021

Studies by donor agencies from time to time repeated the point of how economic growth in Bangladesh is getting shaved off as a consequence of corruption. According to such studies, the country could probably add another 2 to 3 per cent to its economic growth, annually, from significantly reducing its corruption or reach a growth level of 7 or 8 per cent from the present nearly 6 percent on average.

But let us not be obsessed also from such observations that all efforts on the part of those who govern the economy or run the country, should be essentially concentrated on limiting corruption.

Corruption can be only one component among many others and scoring well in all of these other components are probably more crucial than frustrating only corruption. For the other components of growth, if the conditions for fulfilling them are reached, the same would likely create conditions for economic growth to soar into even the double digits in Bangladesh like in China. It is no overstatement to say that Bangladesh has the potentials of attaining annual economic growth of 12 per cent or above provided these other components of growth are well addressed through proper plans and their executions and the establishment and retention of a growth facilitating environment.

These other components which are discussed here range from human resources formation to abilities and resolve of leadership at various levels to even overcoming cultural or religious barriers. The point is achieving of a much increased growth rate in the context of Bangladesh for rapid alleviation of poverty and improved standard of living, as having many facets to it .

In sum, what is suggested here is that the planners should come out of their traditional thinking on growth and look at it much more innovatively and dynamically. It would be impossible to describe in details the numerous ways and means of achieving growth within the limited space provided here. But describing a few should help in the clarification of the views expressed here.

For example, the country’s biggest export-oriented readymade garments (RMG) sector can contribute to growth by increasing productivity of its workers through selective and sustained training programmes. The RMG sector can expand in size from investing in the establishment of new units creating, thus, more employment and more wealth that would be contributory to the country’s economic growth in a major way . It can make its production and other processes leaner and fitter to increase its productivity and earnings.

Bangladesh is relatively a rich country with many virgin and unexploited fields. It can, for instance, take steps to utilize its vast discovered resources of coal and other minerals. It can extend diverse forms of agriculture into considerable fallow lands. It can aim to exploit its sea resources on a large scale in the long run. Substantial investments on a large scale are possible in Bangladesh in the tourism sector. Continuing investments into these and other prospective areas through a really dedicated business leadership helped by a similarly dedicated, efficient and visionary national or governmental leadership, indicate the possibilities of creating a faster pace of overall economic growth for the country.

Government itself can be a big promoter of growth by introducing and running policies to that end. Government can really try hard to overhaul the country’s archaic educational system which is largely a burden than asset. It can create facilities for scientific, technical and vocational education on a far larger scale than what are on offer at present. It can particularly expand in a big way the opportunities for skill training programmes. The net of these efforts will be the formation of a large enough workforce supportive of much stepped up investment activities leading to higher economic growth.

Government on its own or in partnership with the private sector, should encourage rapid growth of all sorts of infrastructures to facilitate cost-efficient business operations.

Government needs to also more and more improve and fine tune fiscal and monetary policies that would inspire and encourage entrepreneurship locally. Government can also more and more raise awareness of people about empowerment needs of half of the population of the country who are females by drawing them into gainful economic activities outside the confines of their homes. Religious and cultural barriers will have to be overcome to this end. But doing of it, successfully, will allow the economy to be the gainer from receiving more and direct output from female workers in the different formal sectors. This will also aid the economic growth process.

So, from the above, it may be realized that there are so many aspects to increasing economic growth than putting too much into one basket like steps to get rid of corruption only.