Speakers came up with this warning at the concluding session of ‘Bay of Bengal Conversation-2022’ at Sonargaon hotel in the capital. The centre for governance studies (CGS) organised this three-day long dialogue.     

The European Union (EU) ambassador to Dhaka Charles Charles Whiteley said Bangladesh received 2.3 billion US dollars as ODA from the EU countries in the last five years -- a 10 per cent of total foreign assistance. Bangladesh will graduate from LDC in 2026. Along with the garments sector, the country will have to increase its exports of jute and rawhide like medicines.          

Former commerce minister and BNP senior leader Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said the economic disparity is increasing steadily in the country.

He said balance will have to be maintained between the infrastructural and human developments. Investment will have to be made to enhance literacy rate and skills. It will have to be monitored whether the mega project is being implemented for the welfare of people or for profiting a section of the people. Millions of Tk are being laundered in the name of development.

The UNDP's Bangladesh country economist Nazneen Ahmed said the amount of foreign assistance started decreasing even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

She said it is not sure whether the amount of ODA will be increased in the future.

The diplomatic capacity will have to be enhanced to increase the deadline of paying the loan interest and the installments. The government will have to think about the small and medium entrepreneurs of the country before signing any duty-free agreement with any other country.        

Research fellow of the Economic Research Institute of Rakuten securities in Japan, Yoshikazu Katô, said despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bangladesh is experiencing robust growth. A total of 324 Japanese organisations are doing business in Bangladesh. Japan is helping Bangladesh eradicate poverty, graduate to a developing country and build a sustainable economy.

It is said in the discussion that Bangladesh will turn into a developing country from the list of LDC in November in 2026. The graduation will greatly affect the country’s trade-commerce and export-import. The assistance -- the country is receiving from the foreign countries as LDC -- will not be continued after 2026.

The session was conducted by Parvez Karim Abbasi, an assistant professor of East West University’s Economics department. Several ministers were supposed to attend the three-day long dialogue. But they didn’t take part. However, the agriculture minister, Abdur Razzaque, came to the event for a while and left without delivering his remark.