The newly elected government will have its plate full from the very start with both short- and long-term development challenges. The cover article identifies the sectors in need of most attention, namely banking and urban sectors, fiscal and infrastructure policies and human development and social protection. Non-performing loans along with the lack of autonomy of Bangladesh Bank are major concerns in ensuring sound governance of the financial sector. The existing fiscal policy measures have not yielded expected revenues with the tax-GDP ratio remaining at a very low level. These issues are discussed against a backdrop of achievements so far, and provides some suggestions for moving forward.
In sync with the cover article discussing the future plan is another article reviewing the state of Bangladesh economy in the past year, providing sector-wise overviews. Accelerated GDP growth combined with qualifying for graduation from LDC status are major achievements. On the other hand, macroeconomic management and sluggish export growth along with limited progress on diversification remain major weaknesses.
Bangladesh’s imminent graduation from the LDC status has been a subject matter of intense discussion as the country for the first time met the criteria for graduation from the group of least developed countries (LDCs) in 2018. This issue contains an article that sheds light on a particular area LDC graduation – the likely impact on apparel exports to the EU.
This issue includes the second article of a three-article series on East Asian decentralisation and lessons to be learned by Bangladesh. Other articles included focus on quantifying the cost of violence against women; the feed sector of Bangladesh; environmentally efficient RMG factories in the country and an article discussing tax policies, accounting for both ‘benevolent dictator’ and ‘leviathan’ assumptions for the government.