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20. Juni 2014 5 20 /06 /Juni /2014 00:54
Escalating Country’s Economic GrowthBEF to provide policy suggestions→ Monirul Alam

 Bangladesh Economist Forum (BEF), a new platform of non-partisan economists living home and abroad, has offered to provide the government with policy suggestions to escalate the country’s economic growth faster than last several years’ six percent average.

Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Atiur Rahman, one of the founding members of the platform, Thursday announced that the forum will arrange a two-day conference in the capital on June 21-22 to discuss economic policies and strategies for long-term economic development.

The theme of the conference will be: Vision 2030: A Framework for Economic Policy Making and Strategy Formulation in Pluralistic Democracy.

The announcement came at a press conference held at the Jahangir Alam Memorial Hall of the central bank.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith will inaugurate the conference to he held at Radisson Hotel in the capital. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr, Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury and some other ministers will also attend various sessions of the conference, according to a BB statement. 

BIDS Director General Mustafa K Mujeri, PRI vice president Dr Sadiq Ahmed and former president of BEA Dr Mohiuddin Alamgir were present, among others at the press conference. 

While addressing the press conference, Dr Rahman said the country’s economy could not move forward as per the aspiration due to policy constraints despite there were adequate endeavors by successive governments.

“These are critical questions regarding moving forward Bangladesh’s economic development. Finding answers require considerable empirical research; and BEF offers it for the greater welfare of economy,” he said.

He said there is crying need for policy and strategy formulation to take a longer-term perspective to address a host of unanswered questions.

“How can Bangladesh achieve and sustain a faster growth rate than 6 percent per year? How can poverty be reduced and living standards of the near-poor and the population at large be improved? How can Bangladesh create high income jobs at a rate that exceeds the rate of growth of the labour force? How can Bangladesh insulate the economy and the population from the adverse effects of climate change? What can be done to preserve the environment while growing at a faster rate? What are the implications for policies and institutional reforms?,” Dr Atiur asked. 

“Unfortunately, divisive politics and excessive focus on day-to-day events are constraining sound analysis and debate on how best to work together collectively on these long-term development issues,” he said.

He said the idea of the BEF emerged from these considerations.

“There are many high-caliber Bangladeshi professional economists, some are living in Bangladesh while the others live abroad, who could be gathered to provide a non-partisan Forum for providing policy advice based on sound empirical research and drawing on international best practice. These economists are well established in their profession, are well-respected, and are non-partisan in their analysis. None of these economists are seeking any public office or publicity. They are willing to work pro-bono to serve the interests of the country. They are willing to work with any government and their research and policy analysis is available for all, based on wide dissemination,” the BB governor said. 

He said Bangladesh’s economy has surpassed early expectations and achieved remarkable progress in development within a relatively short span of 43 years since the country’s independence. This development progress compares favorably within South Asia and in the global context of all developing countries. Actually, in terms of growth and human development Bangladesh has done better than many in its peer group.

He said Bangladesh has the potential to grow faster than 6 percent per year and achieve middle income status by 2021 and strive for better beyond.

“It can also create sufficient high-income jobs for its growing labor force. There are many challenges. The incidence of poverty is still large in absolute terms and many people live close to poverty (the near poor). While vulnerabilities have been reduced, climate change and environmental degradation continue to pose challenge. Strengthening institutions and improving governance are challenges that need continuous long-term efforts,” Atiur said. 

Distinguished scholars, academics, civil society representatives, political and policy leaders and private sector representative as well as the members of the diplomatic community are expected to participate in the conference.

Distinguished and keynote lectures will be delivered by Professor Michael Lipton of UK, an old friend of Bangladesh, Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairman, Center for Policy Dialogue, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Chairman, BRAC and Dr. Azizur Rahman Khan, Professor, University of California at Riverside.

The Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), Policy Research Institute (PRI) and the Bangladesh Bank (BB) are co-sponsoring the Conference. Generous financial assistance has been received from the Bangladesh Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and the Association of Bangladesh Bankers (ABB).

Invited participants will present papers on a wide range of topics concerning future growth and development potential of Bangladesh and the underlying key issues.

More specifically, the conference will address issues related to growth strategies, macro and financial policies, fiscal policy and capital markets, trade, aid and infrastructure, poverty reduction strategies and policies, human development strategies and policies,

sustainable development and public policy making and institutions.
- See more at: http://www.daily-sun.com/details_BEF-to-provide-policy-suggestions_891_1_2_1_1.html#sthash.om3X5vqO.dpuf

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