Bangladesh is facing a resource gap equivalent to $928.48 billion to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and the government can fill up 35.50 percent of the gap from its own sources, experts said at a discussion on Wednesday.
They said an additional 5.59 percent of the gap could be filled up through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The experts and representatives of development agencies emphasised finding out ways to finance the remaining $546.97 billion from domestic sources through innovation.
Faster GDP growth is boosting per capita income rapidly which indicates underutilised capacity for financing development, they said at a session of the Bangladesh Development Forum (BDF) that kicked off in the city.
Planning Minister MA Mannan presided over the session and Monowar Ahmed, secretary of the Economic Relations Division, presented the keynote paper.
Mannan said capital should be mobilised even in the rural areas to ensure inclusive growth.
He emphasised building entrepreneurship, developing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas in order to maintain a stable and sustainable growth.
The minister also said, "The government has huge potential to increase revenues and to finance development from its own sources without any support from the development agencies."
Ilias Skamnelos, Lead Financial Sector Economist at the Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation of the World Bank Group said, a strong capital market is required to finance industrialisation.
He expressed his disappointment over the current status of the capital market and the banking sector, and sought political will to ensure stability in these sectors.
"The World Bank is working jointly with the government to strengthen the capital market," he added.
Barrister Nihad Kabir, president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said corporate institutions of the country are facing the shortage of long-term financing.
"There should be proper initiatives to attract multinational lenders to invest in Bangladesh," he said.
Nihad also recommended ensuring structural changes, such as reforming tax and duty policies, in order to increase revenues and to ease doing business.
Dongdong Zhang, principal financial sector specialist of the Asian Development Bank, emphasised a result-based financing system.
He said Bangladesh has enough space to meet development financing through PPP.
While presenting the keynote paper titled "Innovative Financing for Self-reliant Bangladesh", Monowar Ahmed said, "Per capita income in Bangladesh has increased from $543 in 2006 to $1,752 in 2018."
"Poverty has dropped from 41.5 percent in 2006 to 21.4 percent in 2018. During the same period, extreme poverty has decreased from 24 percent to 11.3 percent and crossed the threshold of low-income country status by fulfilling the criteria set by the World Bank in 2015," he explained.
He said Bangladesh met the criteria for graduating from LDC status for the first time in 2018 and is expected to graduate by 2024.
"Both these graduations also lead to great impetus for more investments to sustain the growth momentum.
"Sustained high growth has created an environment for allocating more resources for human, social and infrastructure development," he added.
Monowar said Bangladesh has one of the lowest revenue-to-GDP rates in the world.
"Tax administration improvements have been lower than expected and is further challenged by a narrow tax base."