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18 June 2024

Business Insider Bangladesh

Ali for appropriate policies to overcome LDC graduation challenges

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 23:53, 9 June 2024  
Ali for appropriate policies to overcome LDC graduation challenges

Photo: Collected

Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali on Sunday said that Bangladesh could overcome all the challenges of the LDC graduation if the right policies and strategies are put in place.

"Our strengths lie in our hardworking people, vibrant entrepreneurs, the young generation and people friendly government under the leadership of Hon'ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina," he said.

The Finance Minister said this while addressing the inaugural session of the Technical Level Workshop on Smooth Transition Strategy (STS) as the chief guest held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in the capital, reports BSS.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) and United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) jointly organized the workshop.

State Minister for Finance Waseqa Ayesha Khan and Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce Md Selim Uddin attended the event as special guests. UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis was the guest of honour. ERD Secretary Md. Shahriar Kader Siddiky chaired the event.

Additional Secretary of ERD and the Project Director of SSGP A. H. M. Jahangir delivered the welcome remarks of the event.

The Finance Minister said that the graduation from the LDC status would bring challenges in front of the country since this achievement was possible not only for hard work of the citizens, but also for the supports provided by the trade and development partners bilaterally and multilaterally because of the status as an LDC.

"We understand that support in these forms will not be available in the coming days. I strongly believe that our development partners will continue to support us in other forms in facing the challenges," he added.

Ali also hoped that the ERD, with the valuable suggestions and opinions from the concerned stakeholders, would be able to develop an actionable smooth transition strategy, which will help the country not only to overcome the challenges, but also to move forward and achieve the goals set out in the Perspective Plan 2041.

State Minister for Finance Waseqa Ayesha Khan, in her speech, said that the STS should promote structural transformation to avoid the Middle Income Trap. She also observed that the STS should be aligned with the long-term development goals.

ERD Secretary Md. Shahriar Kader Siddiky called for aligning the STS with the 9th Five Year Plan of the country. He also put emphasis on turning the LDC graduation challenges into opportunities.

Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce Md Selim Uddin said that the STS should come up with specific measures for increasing the competitiveness of domestic products and for diversification of the country's exports.

UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis said that the United Nations system is committed to supporting Bangladesh as it moves towards graduation, with an emphasis on strengthening macroeconomic stability, addressing the challenges of market access, sustaining trade and investment, and accelerating reforms for skills, technology, innovation, and compliance with environmental, social and governance standards.

The speakers, experts and policy makers at the workshop said that Bangladesh should formulate its strategy for LDC graduation in line with the country's upcoming 9th Five Year Plan.

They also said that such a strategy should be aligned with the country's long-term development goals with a view to avoid the middle income trap.

It is notable that Bangladesh met all the criteria for graduation from the LDC status in the consecutive 2018 and 2021 triennial reviews of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the United Nations. Following a five years' preparatory period, Bangladesh will graduate from the LDC status in November 2026.

It is recommended by the United Nations that a graduating LDC should prepare a national Smooth Transition Strategy (STS) during the preparatory period in cooperation with its development and trading partners and with targeted assistance from the UN system.

Accordingly, Bangladesh has recently started the process of STS formulation in collaboration with UN DESA. As part of this process, the technical workshop was organized to share the draft STS as well as the associated action plan with the relevant stakeholders and to receive their feedback and recommendations.

Speakers at the workshop opined that the recommendations coming from the STS should be reflected in the upcoming 9th Five Year Plan.

During the workshop, the national consultant for STS Dr. M. A. Razzaque delivered a presentation highlighting the context and various aspects of the STS that is being formulated. Meanwhile, the international consultant for STS Cuong Minh Nguyen delivered a presentation on the STS Action Plan.

Representatives from various government ministries and divisions as well as representatives from the private sector, think tanks and civil society organizations participated in the workshop.