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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2557

Bangladesh economy growing fast in spite of graft

Dhaka, 15 May, ( Amidst the deepening gloom, mostly the outcome of the confrontational politics and petty political interests, there have been glimmers of hope as well in the horizon. While the gloom has been magnified by a highly prejudiced media, the hopes have been overlooked. Unless the politicians learn to subordinate petty self-interest to that of the country's, they will continue to be a drag on the citizens.

A 6.5 per cent GDP growth rate in the current FY as prognosticated by ADB should cheer up the nation. The growth, one of the biggest in recent memory, has been recorded in spite of the steep hike in the prices of fuels, confrontational politics and frequent power outages.

The exports have recorded a 19 per cent growth and will cross $7.5 billion. The remittances have exceeded $4 billion, surpassing the earnings of the last fiscal year. The remittances have registered a hefty rise of about 22 per cent in the first nine months of the current fiscal year compared to the corresponding period last year.

The deficit financing in the first eight months of the current FY has been Tk 5,904 crore against the annual projection of Tk 3 billion. A creditable performance indeed! The experts say that the larger the size of deficit financing in a growing economy, the better it is for the nation. The forex reserve is $3 billion, which is comfortable.

The opposition wittingly chose to ignore these achievements, but at the same time exaggerated the Kansat and Shanir Akhra incidents, demanding, as it usually does, the resignation of the government. Public memory is short but not so short as to forget that Awami League, when in power, called in army to guard the power stations and water-pumps to protect the installations from the rage of the people. Awami League also went so far as to call in the army to control traffic!

The opposition, but more pronouncedly the Awami League-friendly media and columnists, are smelling victory due to the recent occurrences at Kansat and Shanir Akhra where people protested against frequent power outages and inadequate supply of water.

The opposition, instead of mollifying the agitating people, encouraged them to take the law in their own hands.

One particular columnist, who has taken up cudgels against the nascent civil society, made a blistering attack on it for its omission to stand behind the 'revolutions' in Kansat and Shanir Akhra. This particular columnist smells a rat in the civil society.

The Awami League-led 14-party conglomerate has refused to sit with the team proposed by the government for opposition-government dialogue on possible electoral reforms.

The opposition refuses to sit with the 'war criminals' of the Jamaat. The Awami League should have indulged in a little retrospection before rejecting the team.

Awami League had made firm public commitments over and over again to try the 93,000 war criminals on the soil of Bangladesh. It made this commitment repeatedly. Awami League was in for a rude shock and got a strong rebuff from India, then led by the late Indira Gandhi.

India allowed the 93,000 POWs to be repatriated to Pakistan following an agreement between Indira Gandhi and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan. The Bangladesh team was asked to be present at the Simla Conference where the deal was clinched, but it was never consulted nor was it asked to sit at the conference table. War criminals after 35 years of independence? Sheikh Mujibur Rahman of revered memory had exonerated all anti-liberation people, barring those who were involved in arson, killing and rape.

The opposition's objection to sitting with the government has no valid grounds.

The opposition is allergic to any dialogue and steadfastly pursues negative politics. One example of its vindictive attitude is that it staged walk-outs on five occasions during the current JS session. The number of walk-outs and boycotts must have exceeded all previous records in parliamentary history.

There are one billion people around the globe who do not have access to electricity and a similar number are denied the 'luxury' of pure drinking water.

India is the fastest growing economy in the world, only next to China. The newspaper readers are aware of how the capital of India, New Delhi, is reeling under power crisis.

The Indian government promptly announced a number of measures to ease the crisis. The measures include: shops will have to observe one extra day of holiday a week, industries must shut down before sunset, billboards will not be allowed to use power and residents will be requested to not to turn on their air conditioners before 9pm.

These measures have been applied despite the warnings by the trade bodies that this could dent the economy. The government is determined to enforce the directives without any laxity. The filling stations in many countries are shut down by sunset and open only after 9am to ease the fuel shortage. Why can't we apply these rules in Bangladesh?

The Economist of London quoted a World Bank report in one of its recent issues which said that the Bangladeshi and Chinese economies are growing fast despite graft.

- INS+Asian Tribune -

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