Bangladesh made spectacular economic progress despite limited resources: ICCB

Bangladesh has made spectacular economic progress over the last five decades despite limited resources, International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh (ICCB) President Mahbubur Rahman said Sunday.

“The GDP growth rate has reached a record high. Per capita income has also risen steadily,” he said.

Rahman made the remarks while presenting the Executive Board Report of ICC Bangladesh for 2020 in its annual council held virtually in the city.

He said the country has achieved near self-sufficiency in food production for its population of 170 million.

“The country now even shoulders the burden of the world’s largest refugee population of over 1 million Rohingyas who have fled persecution in neighbouring Myanmar,” Rahman said.

ICCB President noted that Covid-19 has created not only a global economic crisis but the loss of millions of lives globally. “This has led to steep recessions in many countries. It has also had devastating effects on women, the young, the poor, people employed informally, and those working in contact-intensive sectors.”

However, Bangladesh, which weathered the pandemic better than most economies in the sub-region, will continue to grow strongly as exports pick up.

In Bangladesh, according to experts, not everyone has benefited equally from the nation’s impressive growth and development because of rising income and wealth inequality, said the ICCB.

Another challenge is the heavy concentration of economic activity in big cities like Dhaka and Chattogram, resulting in a huge rural-urban divide and increased urban poverty, it said.

Referring to a recent study, the Executive Board Report mentioned that a staggering 96% of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Bangladesh lost income during the Covid-19 pandemic.

MSMEs in the country reported a median loss in business of 82% during the “national holidays” and customer footfall reduced by an average of 67%.

The recent upsurge of pandemic waves in India, which started in March 2021, has caused unprecedented and alarming infection and death.

The Indian virus has also spread in neighbouring countries including Bangladesh as well as the UK. Unfortunately, vaccine producing countries are reluctant to allow the production of vaccines in other countries, said ICCB.

Among others, ICC Bangladesh vice-presidents Rokia A Rahman and AK Azad; Syed Manzur Elahi, chairman, of Apex Footwear Ltd; Md Jashim Uddin, president, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FBCCI); Rizwan Rahman, president, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI), Mahbubul Alam, president, Chittagong Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CCCI); Rupali Chowdhury, president, Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI); Sheikh Kabir Hossain, president, Bangladesh Insurance Association (BIA); Faruque Hassan, president, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA); Mohammad Ali Khokon, president, Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA); Mohammad Hatem, first vice-president, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BKMEA), ICCB executive board members Abdul Hai Sarker, Aftab ul Islam, Kutubuddin Ahmed; Md Fazlul Hoque, Mir Nasir Hossain and Simeen Rahman; Muhammad A (Rumee) Ali, chairman, ICC Banking Commission and CEO, Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC); ICCB members Mohammad Fazlul Azim, managing director, Azim Group; Md Mahbub Ur Rahman, CEO, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) Ltd; Syed Waseque Md Ali, managing director, First Security Islami Bank Ltd; Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director & CEO; Mutual Trust Bank Ltd; Mohammad Shamsul Islam, managing director, National Housing Finance and Investments Limited; Tanvir Ahmed, managing director & CEO, Sheltech Ceramics Ltd.; Rubaiyat Jamil, managing director, ICE Technology; Md Abdul Jabbar, managing director, DBL Group; Dr Rubana Huq, managing director, The Mohammadi Limited; Tahrin Aman, president, Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI); Anis A Khan, advisor to the board, Tyser Risk Management Bangladesh Limited (TRMBL); Mohd Arshad Ali, managing director, The Merchants Limited; Asif Ibrahim, vice-chairman, Newage Textiles Ltd; R Maksud Khan, chairman, Bengal Fine Ceramics Limited; Syed Ali Jowher Rizvi, managing director, Summit Alliance Port Limited; Md Abdul Jabbar, managing director, DBL Group; K A M Majedur Rahman, CEO, AK Khan & Company Ltd, Ataur Rahman, secretary general, ICC Bangladesh & Shamim Ahmed, deputy managing director, Mercantile Bank Ltd attended the meeting.

Source: United News of Bangladesh