Achieving SDGs not possible sans political stability
Achieving SDGs not possible sans political stability
We have done well on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From MDGs comes SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). The SDGs are not for any country, they are for the welfare of humanity. The deadline for achieving the SDGs is 2030. If we all work together like the MDGs, we will reach the goal before 2030. Bangladesh has adopted 169 targets and 232 unique indicators in the SDGs. Almost all of these are included in our Seventh and Eighth Five Year Plans. A good plan has been adopted by the government to implement the SDGs. Which ministry will work on which target, who will coordinate the work and ultimately whether the work is done or not, these are given the responsibility to monitor. The government has taken every task seriously. To achieve these tasks, 7 percent growth will be required. It is not the work of a single ministry or individual, it is the work of everyone to achieve the SDG goals. This work should be done by involving the people of the country.
Among the countries that have started working on SDGs implementation, Bangladesh is ahead. In this case, the government has planned. Funding and data acquisition is ongoing. Work on SDGs has started in the country at the government and private levels. Countries like Bangladesh prioritize economic and social aspects first. The environmental aspect always takes a back seat. Due to the consumption structure of the developed world, the environment is under threat today. The environment is not getting much importance in our production process. These issues are not fully included in the policy framework of Bangladesh.
A new threat to global food security is the Russia-Ukraine war. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis is not limited to these two countries. It is already having an impact on the global economy, which was feared at the start of the war. The Russia-Ukraine war and subsequent sanctions, and counter-sanctions are disrupting the production and supply of food, fertilizer, electricity and other commodities around the world. Due to the impact of war, countries like Bangladesh are suffering the most. The prices of essential goods are going beyond the purchasing power of most common people. Emphasis must be placed on strong political commitment and global solidarity. The war in Ukraine and the resulting crises have created deep problems in our society and economy, especially in developing countries. This is emerging as a new challenge in efforts to recover from the Covid-19 situation and achieve SDGs.
We are following specific fiscal measures in Bangladesh to ensure macro-economic stability and keep inflation under control. Our social security program has been expanded manifold. Assistance is provided to protect agriculture, a small cottage and medium industries and other vulnerable sectors. Specific plans have been taken to increase the share of renewables in the energy sector.
LNG is being procured and supplied to traders for their business. But with the money that the government is buying, it has provided much less than the cost. Foreign exchange reserves rose to USD 48 billion during the Covid-19 period. Because most of the remittances were channeled through banking channels ignoring the illegal hundi process and the expenditure from reserves was also reduced at that time. Businessmen have to find new markets along with the production of new products. The current government is business-friendly. The government is working so that businessmen can conduct their business properly. The government’s target is to increase export earnings to 60 billion dollars by 2023. Many agricultural products are now exported from Bangladesh. We now have to focus on exporting more products abroad. However, we still need to do a lot for this. The government is paying attention to these aspects.
National and international conspiracies exploiting the global crisis are now visible. The government and pro-liberation war forces have undertaken positive and constructive action plans so that an international crisis does not rise up in this country in any way. By 2030 we will see its success. These should be highlighted in the socio-economic, political and economic context of this country. In 2041, everyone should come forward and work to build a modern and smart Bangladesh.
The economy of Bangladesh has reached many promising milestones. The country is moving forward overcoming various obstacles. The government has taken up several mega projects. After the inauguration of the Padma multi-purpose bridge, there has been a revolution in the communication system in the southern part of Bangladesh. Bangabandhu Satellite-1 provides comprehensive telecommunication services to all citizens (direct home TV, radio, telemedicine, education, and internet access), Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Dhaka Metrorail Project, Matarbari Project is contributing to boosting the country’s economy. Deep Sea Port, Rampal Coal Based Power Project, Bangabandhu Tunnel, 100 Economic Zones, Elevated Expressway, 39 Hi-Tech Parks and IT Village are also boosting the economy. Many things have been adopted in the Eighth Five-Year Plan. Villages are equipped with all kinds of civic amenities. Today we have become a country where it is time to hold our heads high.
The government has worked tirelessly to implement the Sixth Five-Year Plan, MDGs and First Vision Plan. So far 3,20,072 families have been sheltered through the shelter scheme. On Mujib’s birth centenary, the government gave a house to 66 thousand 189 families as a gift of the year. Around 14,500 community clinics are at people’s doorsteps to provide healthcare at people’s doorsteps. The government has provided scholarships and stipends to more than three crore students, various allowances to six lakh people, Tk. 10 lakh rice to 50 lakh families, and subsidies to farmers in the agricultural sector. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has announced various incentive packages worth Tk. 1,21,000 crore which is playing a vital role in poverty alleviation. 20 thousand crore takahas been spent to give the vaccine of covid to the people.
The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education is being widely introduced to turn the young generation into human resources. Career-oriented education is essential in the contemporary world. The state must give due value to the knowledge, skills, experience, aspirations and opinions of the youth.
The Prime Minister has set four milestones for the country to achieve. The first is the vision of Digital Bangladesh in 2021 which has already been achieved, the second is achieving the SDGs in 2030, the third is building a developed and smart Bangladesh in 2041 and the fourth is the Delta Plan in 2100.
All citizens must work for a developed Bangladesh free from hunger and poverty (SDG-1 eradicating poverty and SDG-2, achieving zero hunger) and upholding the spirit of liberation and secularism that Bangabandhu dreamed of. Bangladesh has limited resources, the population is more than land. Despite that, Bangladesh is a role model of development to the world today.
Most of the world’s economies have seen negative growth in the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This means that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of these countries is lower than the previous year. Even in high-growth countries like neighboring India, the size of GDP has fallen by about 8 percent. Bangladesh was one of the exceptions to this trend. The economy suffered but did not shrink in size from previous years. Despite the global economic recession, the economy of Bangladesh did not lag behind.
The World Bank believes that the growth of Bangladesh will be more in the next financial year. The agency’s forecast for the 2022-23 fiscal year is 7.9 percent. Exports and consumption are expected to continue. Whether the economic recovery will continue and poverty will decrease will depend on how the economy deals with the damage by helping affected families and businesses.
Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) recently released the ‘Vital Statistics’ of 2020, including births, deaths, health and education, showing that Bangladesh’s life expectancy or average life expectancy is now 63 years. Thirty years ago, in 1990, the average life expectancy was only 56 years. Bangladesh’s life expectancy has increased by 15 years in the last 30 years after its independence through a bloody liberation war due to Pakistani misrule. India’s average income is lower than Bangladesh’s. It was 70 years in 2020. In Bangladesh, 31 out of every 1,000 children under the age of five died last year. In 1990 this number was 144. The admission rate of students at the primary and secondary levels is also very high.
It must be admitted that Bangladesh is facing several challenges in the way of development. These challenges have to be met through proper policy and planning. If Bangladesh exits LDC status in 2026, the current duty and quota-free benefits will be available in the EU market only until 2029. For this reason, preparation for the next five years is very important for Bangladesh. Economists recommend the formulation and implementation of robust transit strategies in coordination with the SDGs, the Eighth Five-Year Plan and the Vision Plan for Sustainable Transit. For future progress, it is recommended to pay special attention to increasing the purchasing power of the local market and people, diversification of exports, increase of employment, development of infrastructure, reduction of corruption, quality education, and expansion of health care. So, the people have to decide how to maintain political stability and continuity of government. How to take the country forward.
The writer is a columnist and researcher