"Policy support, infrastructure development, easing the connectivity of ports with the domestic manufacturing and export processing zones, simplification of the financial system and development of backward linkage supply channels in line with the finished goods all help keep the country ahead to becoming a trusted manufacturing hub," he told UNB.
Though the pandemic caused the global export market to suffer in 2020, Bangladesh's export earnings were 33.6 billion US dollars. Export earnings increased by 16.46 per cent in 2021, according to statistics. Readymade garment exports contributed to about 20 billion US dollars, or more than 80 per cent of the total exports in the July-December period.
According to the economists and industrialists, Bangladesh's economy has returned to normal -- the main indicators are all in a positive direction. "The only fear is now just a new variant (Omicron) of the coronavirus. Once it is handled, there is no need to look back."
Although the flow of remittances has slowed down, export earnings have been increasing in line with imports. Foreign exchange reserves have been in a satisfactory state for a long time. Inflation is still at a tolerable level.
And 2022 is a special year. This year, according to the economists, Bangladesh is moving forward by witnessing 50 years of courageous achievement in a new venture. Three major development projects -- Padma Bridge, Dhaka Metro and the Chattogram tunnel -- will be launched between June and December this year.
Traffic will start on the big-ticket Padma Bridge in 2022, trains will also run at the same time. At the same time, Metro Rail will run from north to south of the capital. The tunnel under the Karnaphuli river will also be opened in the southeastern port city of Chittagong. This tunnel will reduce the distance between Cox's Bazar and Chittagong by 40km.
Moreover, work on the first unit of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the largest single infrastructure project in Bangladesh, is nearing completion this year, and power generation will start from 2023. Work is also in full swing to establish Bangabandhu Industrial City.
According to Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) sources, Bangabandhu Industrial City is being developed across 30,000 acres of land in Mirsarai and Sitakunda upazilas of Chattogram, and Sonagazi upazila of Feni. BEZA hopes employment opportunities will be created for 1.5 million people in this industrial city.
Besides, the development work on several other special economic zones is in progress and expected to be completed by 2023.
As a result, in 2023, the journey of a different Bangladesh in terms of infrastructure capacity will be seen. However, there is still stagnation in foreign investment in Bangladesh. So, economists and business leaders have urged the government to focus on increasing investments rather than being complacent on positive news.