Bangladesh must ensure political stability and good governance to achieve the new set of global goals - Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), speakers told a discussion here on Sunday.
“The country’s economy is moving fast. If political stability is ensured, there’ll be no barrier to further economic development,” said Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed.
He was addressing a dialogue titled ‘Sustainable Development Goals: Challenges for Bangladesh’ organised by the International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh (ICC,B) in the city.
CC Bangladesh President Mahbubur Rahman, eminent economists Dr AB Mirza Md Azizul Islam, Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud and World Bank Lead Economist Dr Zahid Hussain, among others, spoke on the occasion.
The Commerce Minister mentioned that if the 7th five year plan is properly implemented, it will help Bangladesh achieve the SDGs.
He mentioned that Bangladesh is the second largest garment exporter in the world and the apparel exporters set a target of US$50 billion export by 2021. “All these targets are achievable if the private sector and public sector work together.”
Mahbubur Rahman said Bangladesh has successfully come out from LDC to a lower middle-income group and in order to be categorised as a middle-income country by 2021, Bangladesh has to consistently maintain the status for the next six years.
“But without a solid industrial base, enhanced public and private investment, adequate infrastructure, uninterrupted power supply, exploration of natural, skilled works force, it will be difficult to sustain the present growth rate or even achieve higher growth which needs to be 7.5 to 8 percent in the coming years,” he said.
Dr Zahid said achieving the SDGs in all countries will require additional global investment in the range of US$ 5 -7 trillion per year.
He said building confidence to tackle the challenges of SDGs is needed and at the same time some goals are difficult where lot of investments, financial and non financial will be required.
Climate and environment actions will need extensive international support to policies and creation of public awareness and Bangladesh will need to prioritise the goals in order to help it meet the targets, said Dr Zahid.
Prof Wahiduddin, also a former Adviser to the caretaker government, said prioritisation is needed to achieve the SDGs.
He laid emphasis on health and education sector for investment. “Not only investment, but also an investment-friendly environment is needed.”
The economist also mentioned that urbanisation will be a key issue for sustainable development. “In achieving MDGs, the solution was low cost one but for the SDGs the solution will be of higher cost one. It’ll be challenging for Bangladesh.”
Mirza Azizul Islam, also a former Advisor to the caretaker government, said the private sector can play important role in helping implement the SDGs.
He said the private sector should have more CSR programmes instead of providing some charitable assistance.
The economist said Bangladesh has not been able to utilise billions of dollars of development assistance as a result of which ADP (annual development programmes) implementation have suffered substantially.
Nick Beresford, Deputy Country Director, UNDP-Bangladesh explained about the SDGs and said the UNDP is committed to supporting Bangladesh in implementing programme to achieve the SDGs.
Dr Mustafa K Mujeri, Executive Director, Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM) said restructuring the development agenda is very much needed and new innovative ideas have to developed to achieve the SDGs.
Prof Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), emphasised the need for an inclusive development.