Distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya on Sunday said economic disparity in the country has increased manifold for lack of political competition in the last 10 years.
“Life and livelihood issues didn’t come up for discussion despite extensive discussions and debate about the upcoming election,” he said. Debapriya made the remarks while addressing a CPD press briefing on the ‘State of Bangladesh Economy and Upcoming National Elections Priorities for Electoral Debates’ at BRAC Centre Inn Auditorium.He said now the main challenge is to reduce discrimination which widened in the last 10 years due to scattered development.
“Even many rules and regulations have been violated in recent years, especially during 2014-15, as there was no appropriate step from the government. We want the political parties to pledge as to how they’ll remove the disparity and implement projects,” the CPD distinguished fellow said.He underscored the need for removing the economic disparity to sustain the growth.
Debapriya suggested increasing employment, investment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), involving small and medium enterprises (SMEs), boosting agricultural development, ensuring quality education and pricing policy, and implementing laws in the banking sector for this.
He also stressed that the political parties include initiatives in their election manifestos for ensuring sustainable growth alongside enacting necessary laws and bringing reforms in the banking sector which witnessed widespread ‘looting’ of Tk 22,502 crore in the last 10 years.According to a CPD study, the major scams in 14 banks cost the amount, which is about four-fifth of the Padma Bridge project cost while two-fifth of the Sonadia deep-sea port.
The micro-economist said now eligible and honest candidates are not getting nomination as election has become a big investment.Another distinguished fellow Mustafizur Rahman said political parties must discuss the issues of economic challenges and how to resolve those.
“Developed countries arrange debates before the national election but this culture is absent in our country. So, our demands have to be informed to general people through political parties’ manifestos. It’s not possible to flourish the economic sector without a democratic system,” he said.
Mustafizur also touched upon the ‘awful’ situation of the country’s education system, saying the unemployment has turned acute among educated persons. “Even the education got less allocation in the national budget.”“The challenges of the economy are increasing day by day. So, it’s the perfect time that political parties promise how they’ll resolve the challenges,” he said, underscoring the need for putting importance to foreign investment in the country.
The CPD distinguished fellow also said the private sector investment increased from Tk 1,259 billion to Tk 2,378 billion from 2009 to 2018. He also suggested increasing the revenue-GDP and tax-GDP ratio measures to curb illicit financial flow and black money.