Lead economists have urged the government to reform the country’s trade policy, which they say is focused on revenue earning rather than development.
“Currently the global trend is to move away from trade taxes as a revenue source, but Bangladesh continues to rely heavily on it,” they told a book launching ceremony in the capital on Saturday.
“We always discuss supply side constraints. But we also face problems in demand side on international market and we need to think about it,” said former caretaker government adviser Dr Mirza Azidul Islam.
Shedding light on increasing and diversifying export, he said Bangladesh’s export contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) was poor compared to other Asian countries.
The Policy Research Institute (PRI) organised the launching of a book jointly authored by PRI’s Chairman Dr Zaidi Sattar and Vice-Chairman Dr Sadiq Ahmed. Planning Minister MA Mannan was present as the chief guest while former central bank governor Dr Mohammed Farashuddin presided over the programme.
Briefing on their new publication, the authors said: “The overall trade regime in Bangladesh still remains highly protective which hurts export. But there is little evidence that trade protection has promoted growth for manufacturing sector and job creation.”
However, Executive Director of the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development Dr Mustafa K Mujeri opposed the assertion, saying: “Trade policy is not solely responsible for the current export and employment situations. Its reform will bring much unless we implement integrated supportive domestic policies.”
The planning minister in his speech emphasised continuation of growth and taking up effective policies.
Among others, South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) Executive Director Dr Selim Raihan was present at the event