PM Hasina calls for extending preferential market access for graduating LDCs

PM seeks extension of preferential market access for graduating LDCsBSS

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina today advocated for at least six-year extension of preferential market access for graduating LDCs like Bangladesh as she placed a five-point recommendation before the development partners at an event on the sidelines of LDC5 conference.

"I wish to make five suggestions for our development partners and firstly for extension of preferential market access for graduating LDCs like Bangladesh for at least six years; and, supporting their trade facilitation and capacity building, including through aid-for-trade," she said.

The premier was addressing the event titled "Global Partnership for Smooth and Sustainable Graduation: Marching Towards Smart Bangladesh" held at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC).

In her second suggestion she opted for enhancing FDI flow in graduating LDCs through incentives to the private sector, and updating mutually beneficial investment protection agreements.

Thirdly, she called for promoting sustainable industrial growth in graduating LDCs, including by way of supporting their private sector for efficient resource management, to improve industrial relations, and through fair pricing.

The prime minister in her fourth suggestion said innovative financing mechanisms should be developed so that the cost of borrowing remains sustainable for graduating LDCs during their transition phase

In fifth recommendation, she stressed financing viable physical and digital infrastructure projects in graduating LDCs; and, supporting their continued investment in human capital formation and institutional reforms.

"In course of our graduation, we know where we want to go and how to get there. Our government will not allow Bangladesh to slide back in the graduation process," she said.

In order to graduate with confidence, "we need sure support from our friends in the international community," said the prime minister.

She said Bangladesh's track record in the last fifty-one years has shown that the country has done justice to international cooperation.

"As the world's largest LDC economy, we hope to encourage other LDCs to opt for graduation through our own experience of a smooth transition," she added.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has qualified for graduation in all three UN criteria.

In 2015, the country attained the middle-income country status and Bangladesh ranked in the medium bracket of UNDP's Human Development Index ahead of that, she continued.

She said Bangladesh was considered a model for MDG achievement, and her government kept its commitment by building "Digital Bangladesh" by 2021.

The premier said her government and people attach high importance to Bangladesh's smooth and sustainable LDC graduation in 2026.

"We look forward to building a knowledge-based, developed and smart Bangladesh by 2041. Our private sector and social partners will have to play a prominent role in this journey," she said.

She expressed her hope to sustain the momentum, including by achieving SDGs.

"For us to move forward, we need continuation of some international support measures for LDCs beyond our graduation," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh needs to further build its productive capacity and diversify its manufacturing and exports as it must pursue a low-carbon growth pathway.

"We hope to comply with due diligence measures. We must digitize and innovate to stay competitive. We are committed to upholding our people's right to development," she said.

Bangladesh has shown that it can deliver, she said, adding that the economy of Bangladesh grew by 8.15 percent just before Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.

The country has made fast decline in poverty and hunger, the premier said.

She said people's life expectancy in Bangladesh rose to 73 years and literacy rate now stands at 75.2 percent.

Gender parity has been achieved in its schools and the country's women and girls are making their mark in all parts of society, she said.

"Our disaster preparedness and climate adaptation are often taken as examples," she added.

She went on saying her government has decided to take urban facilities to rural areas through the "My Village, My Town" programme.

The prime minister said she has urged her countrymen to cultivate every inch of land to acquire food security.

She also focused on her government success and achievement in different areas particularly primary healthcare services for rural people, social protection supports for the disadvantaged people, digitization of public services, implementing mega projects, setting up economic zones, export processing zones and Hi-tech parks to attract investment.

The head of government said, "I dream of our boys and girls taking lead in artificial intelligence, internet of things, and robotics".

She said her government is pushing for an innovation ecosystem, with attention to intellectual property.

"We wish to make good use of our traditional knowledge, genetic resources and blue economy," the premier said.

She said Bangladesh shall soon have a logistics policy with a view to cutting down cost of doing business.

"We are investing in an energy mix, including clean energy," she added.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is also making international contributions to the extent possible.

"We are sharing our e-governance tools with other LDCs under South-South Cooperation. A regional climate adaptation center has been set up in Dhaka to share our good practices with other countries," she said.

She also said the Bangladeshi NGOs are taking home-grown development models to other parts of the world.

"We have offered to share our agricultural good practices with African countries," she said.

The prime minister said Bangladesh respond to humanitarian emergencies, while continuing to host 1.2 million forcibly displaced Rohingya from Myanmar.