Bangladesh can grow at 8 percent, says World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu

Bangladesh's economy can surely grow at 8 percent per annum if it works out a plan and involves the private sector in the country's socio-economic development, says World Bank's Chief Economist Kaushik Basu.

Published : 14 Dec 2015, 02:14 PM
Updated : 14 Dec 2015, 03:43 PM

Basu, who is on a four-day visit on the invitation of Bangladesh Bank, inaugurated an international workshop and met Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Monday.

He arrived in Dhaka on Dec 12 and joined an international workshop on economic stability, private sector development and growth.

Bangladesh Bank and UN-DSA jointly organised the workshop.

"Bangladesh is poised for the take-off. The economy is moving ahead and I am very optimistic about Bangladesh," Kaushik Basu said.

Basu said Bangladesh is surely among the countries likely to grow rapidly.

"That is why the World Bank was giving much importance to Bangladesh. The World Bank is now laying emphasis on inclusive growth, but Bangladesh has already moved in that direction," Basu said.

Basu pointed out, however, that the government alone would not be able to steer the country's growth.

"The private sector should contribute and achieve what the government wants to do. So we need the right atmosphere for the private sector to grow, we need a legal regime in which the private sector can thrive. We need the most marginalised groups to be included in the process of development," said Basu.

He called for a mix of professionalism and patriotism to develop Bangladesh.

UN-DSA's Hamid Rashid called for fiscal and monetary stability at a time when the global economy was in a state of flux.

"The issue of stability should be treated holistically," he said.

Later Basu met Finance Minister AMA Muhith at his Hare Road residence.

At the end of the meeting, Basu said World Bank's relations with Bangladesh will grow stronger.

"I had very fruitful discussions with Finance Minister Muhith. He raised some issues, I raised some. All I can say is Bangladesh is moving ahead," Basu said.

"From its present annual GDP growth of 6.5pc, the World Bank expects Bangladesh to grow at 6.7 pc in next fiscal. In the context of a global economic slowdown, this is quite remarkable."

"I am sure this is not where Bangladesh will stop. In a few years, it is possible for Bangladesh to achieve an annual 8 percent growth," said Basu.

Investments now account for 29 percent of the GDP, but Basu feels this can go up to 34 percent with some concerted effort.

"If that can be done, an annual 8 percent growth is very much possible," he said.

"The moment Bangladesh can achieve that, it will be in the frontline of growth, it will be among the top four to five growing economies."

He said the World Bank's relationship with Bangladesh is 'slowly transforming into a partnership'.

"It is no longer a low income country, it is already a lower middle income country," he said.

"India is now a lower income country. Our (World Bank) relation with a low income country is markedly different from that with a lower middle income country," Basu said.

He said Bangladesh is all set to develop a stronger relationship with the World Bank.