Economy shows a little improvement
Sunday, 10 August 2008

Inflation reportedly seems to have gone down slightly but the Bangladesh Bank does not seem to be very upbeat about it stating that major challenges remain in increasing productivity which suffers from power shortages, infrastructural bottlenecks and an unstable political situation.  Another worrying factor is the deportation of Bangladeshi workers from abroad, particularly from the Middle East, although the deportations have not reached a stage which could significantly affect remittances, the single-most important source of foreign currency earnings for the Country. Right now foreign currency is all important for us because it is with this that we buy fuel, fertilizers, food and other goods and services from abroad. So the Foreign Ministry should immediately get on the matter and resolve it before it assumes uncontrollable proportions.  The real good news is that this year nature has been kind to us and we are not much affected by floods. We need to take full advantage of this and extend all out support to the agricultural sector so that farmers can once again produce a bumper of the next crop, the Aman. We have seen how the bumper Boro crops have helped us survive the devastation of last year; this cropping season we need to go a step ahead and lay the foundations for relative prosperity for the near future. Most of the Boro crops had gone into building up Government and private stocks but a greater portion of a good Aman harvest are expected to reach the markets and thus the hard-pressed consumers. It is expected that a decline in the price of rice will initiate a decline in the price of other goods and services and so consumers will not have to spend as much money in buying essentials as they are doing right now; they will either save the money in banks or they will buy other non-essential goods and services - in any case it is going to fuel growth. Moreover, the Government does not have to spend as much money in importing rice or in subsidizing the sale of rice through OMS and such other measures; the money saved can be used for other development purposes such as education, health, power etc. So, agriculture and its major produce Rice are still all important and that is where the Government must continue emphasizing. The other good news is that besides the traditional garments and pharmaceuticals, new industrial enterprises such as ship-building, meat-packing, food-processing etc are coming up fast creating opportunities for employment and foreign currency earning through exports. The Government needs to provide infrastructural and financial support to these enterprises so as to ensure their continued growth and expansion.

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