BD’s economic growth to accelerate: Sheikh Hasina tells Nikkei Asian Review
Dhaka: Bangladesh’s strong economic growth will not just continue, but accelerate, says Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
‘In the next five years, we expect annual growth to exceed 9 percent and, we hope, get us to 10 percent by 2021,’ she told the Nikkei Asian Review in an exclusive interview in December, reports the UNB.
Nikkei Asian Review published an article on Bangladesh’s booming economy titled ‘The rise and rise of Bangladesh; The economy is booming. Does Sheikh Hasina deserve the credit?’ interviewing Hasina, experts and top officials of RMF, pharmaceuticals and IT sectors.
Nikkei Asian Review is an Asia-focused English-language publication that brings insights about business, finance, economic and political news, comments and analysis for Asia.
‘Exiting LDC status gives us some kind of strength and confidence, which is very important, not only for political leaders but also for the people,’ Hasina said in the interview.
‘When you’re in a low category, naturally when you discuss terms of projects and programmes, you must depend on others’ mercy. But once you’ve graduated, you don’t have to depend on anyone because you’ve your own rights,’ said Hasina.
‘I always shoot for a higher rate,’ she laughed. ‘Why should I predict lower?’
Hasina said the government is taking a more proactive role in the financing alongside international partners such as China, Japan and international financial institutions.
‘We’ve undertaken [steps] to establish our own sovereign wealth fund, worth $10 billion, to bankroll long-term physical infrastructure development. This is possible because our foreign exchange reserves stand at more than $32 billion now, from $7.5 billion 10 years ago,’ she told the interviewer.
The article said on many fronts, Bangladesh’s economic performance has indeed exceeded even government targets. With a national strategy focused on manufacturing—dominated by the garment industry—the country has seen exports soar by an average annual rate of 15-17 percent in recent years to reach a record $36.7 billion in the year through June.
While some may question so much investment from Beijing, Hasina said it is simply a fact that China is set to play a bigger role in the region.
‘Our foreign policy is very clear: friendly relations with everyone,’ she said. ‘What China and U.S. are doing, it is between them.’