Please set the priorities right
The present Awami League government is suffering from a serious contradiction. The contradiction is between its enthusiasm for pursuing litigations against the opposition and lackadaisical approach in putting the economy on the growth path. This is nothing new with this party. Its skill in politicking far exceeds its capacity to ensure good governance. In the election manifesto the party promised a change in the order and showed the nation Vision 2021. The pace and sincerity with which things are proceeding it is well nigh apparent that it is nowhere in the visibility zone of fulfilling those promises. To meet the aspirations of the people the present regime needs to pay undivided attention to the economy rather than victimising the opposition. The opposition does not get weakened by victimization rather by the positive results achieved by the government on the economic front.
The current economic scene of the country is highly disturbing. No new job is being created and those who had jobs are losing them. Everything has come to a standstill. There is no flurry in developing activities. However, in the backdrop of global economic recession it was expected that the government would gear up state led development activities when private initiative became inert. Unfortunately that is terribly lacking. The government has already spent almost one year of its five year term. Nothing tangible on the economic front has been done for which the government deserves congratulation. During the first five months of the current fiscal only 10 percent of the ADP has been implemented. At least twelve ministries could not spend a single farthing out of funds allocated for development in the first quarter of the fiscal. In the last financial year ADP expenditure was Tk 3125 (three thousand one hundred twenty five) crore during July-Sept period. This figure is slightly higher than 10 percent of this yearâs total allocation of Tk 30500 (thirty thousand five hundred) crore. During Pakistan time East Pakistanâs share in development allocation had for most of the time been lower than that of West Pakistan. At that time we complained against step-motherly treatment towards East Pakistan. The central government retorted with the observation that East Pakistanâs absorptive capacity was poorer. Are we not proving the observation of the Pakistanis through poor implementation of ADP. The government should take all possible measures to overcome the slothfulness in ADP implementation.
The investment scenario of the country is dismal. Industrial investment is almost zero. In the absence of productive investment opportunities people are leaning towards the share market and buying saving certificates. Both imports and exports are in doldrums. Manpower export trend is also not encouraging. Our garments export market is being captured by China, Vietnam and India. Our export basket is very small and its lionâs share is occupied by the garments. If that too gets out of our grip then there would be both economic and social collapse. What will be the fate of 30 lakh garments workers, who are mostly women? China now occupies 29 percent of the garments market in the United States. Vietnam occupies the second position in this market sector in the USA. Bangladeshâs position has come down to 12th.
FDI presents equally dismal picture. A large industrial house of Japan recently showed interest in investing US$ 70 million in several sectors. The precondition given by this Japanese firm for investment in Bangladesh is that the host country has to ensure uninterrupted power and gas supply within 17 months of signing the contract. The question is, can it be done in the short term?
However, the predicament that Bangladesh faces on the economic front is partly a creation of global economic downturn, partly of inaction of the previous governments and surely misplaced priority of the government of the day. Revenge seeking can never be the part of the valour.
25 November 2009