BD steps into 2018 with confidence but challenges lie ahead
Bangladesh steps into the year 2018 with confidence in the midst of highest GDP growth in the country and earning of global appreciation for giving shelter to the Rohingyas, but there are few challenges before the Awami League government as national elections looms this year.
The main challenges are to hold a credible election, repatriation of displaced Rohingyas to Myanmar, control price hike of rice and other essentials, restoration of stability in banking sector, proper implementation of mega projects like Padma Bridge, Payra power plant, Metro rail, Rooppur Power Plant and Rampal Power Plant.
Experts also emphasized that maintaining communal harmony in the country ahead of the national election alongside maintaining law and order is essential as religious fanatic may unleash a reign of terror.
The Bangladesh economy grew by a record 7.28 per cent in the 2016-17 fiscal, beating the 7 per cent target high foreign currency reserves propelled by a spike in export and remittance inflow.
Due to facing some technical issues, 50 per cent construction of the Padma Bridge is 50 percent complete, with significant headway in construction work of the main bridge. But it may not be completed on time before election.
Analysts, however, raised concerns over increased rice import and soaring prices following two rounds of floods and
vlack of supervision in the banking sector.
The government received a record amount of foreign direct investment in the outgoing year. But it faced strong criticism as prices of essential commodities sharply went up particularly rice and onion, went beyond the reach of commoners.
Record shows that the country received $716 million foreign direct investment in the first four months of the current fiscal against $626 million received during the same period of the last fiscal.
Political atmosphere of the country remained calm. The government kept the law and order situation under control by launching massive crackdown on militant dens. But embarrassed over the slide in law and order situation, some 54 people fell prey to forced disappearance in 11 months. The government held Rangpur city election in a free and fair manner, belying the opposition's oft-repeated claim that fair polls cannot be held under the AL-led government.
Former election commissioner M Sakhawat Hossain told the Daily Observer, "Despite Rohingya repatriation challenges, the main challenge is to hold inclusive election in the country otherwise it will not be acceptable in world and pressure will be mounted this regard."
"Apart from militancy containing in the country, if crisis in Assam intensifies then it would be a major challenges for the government," he said.
AB Mirza Azizul Islam, former finance adviser of a caretaker government, said, "The major challenge would be to keep political stability, indentify corruption, control messy banking sector, commodity price at a limit for poor and ultra poor."
Former Vice-chancellor of Dhaka University AAMS Arefin Siddique said, "People wants Awami League will organize a free and fair election to march forward to the democracy as it led the country towards development."
"Law and order to be ensured for all apart from eliminating communalism and extremism," Arefin said.more stories and photos on pages 5, 6, 7 and 12