‘Many development projects do not benefit the public’
Planning Minister MA Mannan criticised the renewal of development projects on Saturday while speaking at an international conference
Planning Minister MA Mannan on Saturday said many development projects of the government do not end up benefitting the public.
"We do many development works that could have been avoided," he said. "Such works are done to maintain continuation of previous projects. But we have to take new plans based on research to ensure proper use of the people's money."
The planning minister made the remarks while addressing the opening session of a two-day international conference organised by the National Academy for Planning and Development (NAPD) at Nilkhet, Dhaka.
NAPD Director General Abul Kashem presided over the opening session of the conference titled "Bangladesh Development Perspectives: Opportunities and Challenges."
Mannan added that the government has prepared the draft of the long-term perspective plan. "The draft of the 2021-2041 plan will be presented to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday."
According to the perspective plan's target, the per capita income will stand at $12,500 in 2041 as per the current market value. The figure will hit $16,000 as per the market value in 2041.
He said the aim of the plan is to boost people's self-esteem by ensuring nobody is deprived of the basic necessities. "For this, research should be conducted and the government is prepared to provide all types of support to this end."
Dr Shamsul Alam, a member of the General Economics Division at the Planning Commission, said Bangladesh will become an upper-middle-income country by 2031 and a developed country by 2041.
"That is why, we will emphasise implementing the new perspective plan," he added.
In his keynote paper, Dr Alam further said the government had earlier taken the perspective plan for 2011-20. "The average economic growth reached the target set in the plan. During this period, Bangladesh has become a lower-middle-income country."
He further said, "In our future plans, we have to emphasise on a number of issues including increasing private investment, remittance and revenue collection for sustainable development.
"Our private investment growth has been stagnant at 23 percent against the GDP [gross domestic product], which is a matter of concern," Dr Alam added.
He said remittance has shown a downward trend as it has been recorded at 6.7 percent and 5.1 percent of the GDP in 2016 and 2017, respectively, against the target of 8 percent in both years.
"Bangladesh has one of the lowest tax to GDP ratios in the world. The last two years' revenue performance is far below than the expected level,'' he added.
Dr Alam said the percentage of schools that meet the student to teacher ratio standard of 46.1 is just 61.8 percent against the benchmark of 70 percent.
He said it is undeniable that the country has seen a rise in female participation in the labour force over the last decade, yet the participation rate is just 36 percent, "well below" the global average of 49 percent.