The government is going to prepare a roadmap soon for Bangladesh’s smooth transition from a least developed country (LDC) to a developing one in the next five years.
It is also set to sign preferential trade agreements (PTAs) with Sri Lanka and Nepal to reap the trade benefits available during the transition period, say finance ministry officials.
The national taskforce working to ensure Bangladesh’s smooth transition to a developing nation will sit soon to draw up the roadmap, a senior official at the ministry told The Daily Star on February 28.
Secretaries of all the ministries concerned are members of the taskforce headed by the principal coordinator (SDG affairs) of the Prime Minister’s Office. They will discuss the roadmap and strategies to implement the measures recommended by the UN Committee for Development Policy (UNCDP), said the official, seeking anonymity.
A team from the UNCDP is scheduled to visit Bangladesh next month to assist in the preparations of the roadmap and strategies.
The UNCDP is arguing for adoption of a host of international support measures in favour of the graduating LDCs.
The team will monitor the measures taken by the government and also give technical support for preparing the roadmap and strategies, mentioned the official.
The official also said they will take up some time-bound action plans and send progress reports to the UNCDP every year so that it can monitor and evaluate the country’s steps during the transition period.
The government has already submitted the country report regarding the transition to the UNCDP, outlining its plans for the transition period.
In the report, the government said it is going to sign PTAs with Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Bangladesh has also been negotiating with Indonesia to sign Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to boost bilateral trade and also tap into export potential in the Southeast Asian region, the official pointed out.
The Economic Relations Division (ERD) has taken up a project titled Support to Sustainable Graduation Project to carry out the activities of the national taskforce and also provide it with secretarial support. The roadmap and strategies will be formulated under the project.
On February 26, the UNCDP, based on assessment, recommended Bangladesh’s graduation to a developing country from a least developed one.
Taking into consideration the Covid-19 fallout, the UNCDP for the first time extended the transition period for Bangladesh to five years from three years.
The UNCDP will evaluate the country again in 2024 mainly to observe whether there is any setback in the economy or the graduation.
At a virtual discussion on the country’s LDC graduation on February 28, Debapriya Bhattacharya, a member of the UNCDP, said the committee has suggested that Bangladesh should prioritise areas in policy formulation to support its development during the transition period and beyond.
In a presentation, he also highlighted the major policies in which the UNCDP suggested collection of more tax, measures to increase private and foreign direct investment (FDI), creation of jobs, and improvement of healthcare and the quality of education.
The UNCDP also suggested product diversification as the country is relying too much on garment items, said Bhattacharya, also a distinguished fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue.
THE DAILY STAR (BANGLADESH)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK