Government Policy

LDC graduation’s gains to outweigh any losses

Finance Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal on Saturday said graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status would be a matter of great honour and pride for the country.

“Such pride and prestige cannot be quantified,” the Minister said, while speaking as the chief guest of an online workshop on ‘Effective Partnership with the Private Sector for Sustainable Graduation.’

The minister also called on the private sector of the country to enhance their in-house research and development capacity to cope with the upcoming 4th Industrial Revolution as well as LDC Graduation.

“Graduation from LDC status would be a manifestation of the dream of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This is also a recognition of the unprecedented development strides the country has made under the valiant leadership of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he added.

Kamal also noted that Bangladesh has shown incredible resilience during all the previous global crises.

“Likewise, we would be able to adjust very well with the upcoming dynamics that would be ushered in with graduation from LDC status,” he said.

Speaking during the workshop, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said Bangladesh should start preparing for the gradual withdrawal of international support measures (ISMs).

“The country should move towards signing of free trade agreements or preferential trade agreements in the long term to cope with the post-graduation scenario,” he also said.

Presenting keynote paper at the event, ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin highlighted the major opportunities and dimensions that would be created for Bangladesh in the aftermath of graduation from LDC status.

She also focused on how the government is preparing for graduation in collaboration with the private sector and other stakeholders.

“The government would prepare a smooth transition strategy in consultation with all relevant stakeholders including the private sector to grab the opportunities and to cope with the challenges of LDC graduation,” she added.

Senior Secretary of Finance Division Abdur Rouf Talukder emphasized on intensifying the skills development program to increase the productivity of the country’s workforce.

He also called for necessary improvement of the country’s education system, providing special incentives for exploring new export markets, providing special support to start-up entities and improvement of the country’s position in the Ease of Doing Business ranking.

Secretary of the Commerce Ministry Dr Md Jafar Uddin said the government is in talks with different countries for signing free trade agreements (FTAs) or preferential trade agreements (PTAs) to prepare for the post-graduation scenario.

President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) Sheikh Fazle Fahim emphasized effective involvement of the private sector in the formulation of a transition strategy in the days ahead.

He also emphasized on the capacity development of private sector and sought government supports to this end.

Bangladesh met all the criteria for LDC graduation for the first time during the last triennial review of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the United Nations held in March 2018. As per the provisions of the United Nations, a country must be found eligible in two successive triennial reviews to be recommended for graduation by the CDP.

The data for the 2021 triennial review indicate that Bangladesh meets the graduation thresholds for all the criteria again and it is very likely that the country would be recommended for graduation in the next triennial review to be held on 22-26 February 2021. Bangladesh’s graduation is expected to be effective after 5 years of preparatory period that is in 2026.

Support to Sustainable Graduation Project (SSGP) of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) of the Ministry of Finance organized the workshop. Principal Coordinator (SDG Affairs), Prime Minister’s Office and Chair, National Task Force on LDC Graduation Juena Aziz chaired the workshop.