'Reforms in three sectors essential for economy'

CPD's Distinguished Fellow Mostafizur Rahman speaks at a programme ERF organised at its office at Purana Paltan in Dhaka on 26 December in 2023Prothom Alo

Initiating reforms in three sectors is essential for the sake of the country’s economy, said Centre for Policy Dialogue’s (CPD) Distinguished Fellow Mostafizur Rahman on Tuesday.

He further said the reforms must be brought about even if these are painful. This will bring a kind of balance to the economy.

Mostafizur Rahman stated the government has amended the bank company act alongside passing a new income tax law. These have to be seen as steps to establish good governance in the banking sector and enhance revenue income instead of considering that the laws have been promulgated as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised.

“Steps to implement the acts properly will raise pressure on some people. Political will is required to face the situation,” he observed.

The CPD distinguished fellow also said that the dollar exchange rate has to be adjusted with the price in the kerb market. “Shock therapy is required in the case of dollar rates. Maybe the wait is for the (parliamentary) election. A leap in making adjustments in dollar rates will increase costs in imports. Then economic measures like slashing import duty will have to be taken. Increase in dollar exchange rate will augment capacity to compete in exporting products. As a result, no stimulus will be required for the exporters. On the other hand, the amount of remittance through the banking channel will also increase.”

Mostafizur Rahman also spoke in favour of adjusting the bank interest rates with the market while exchanging views on the situation of the country’s economy at a programme, organised by the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) at its office in Purana Paltan, Dhaka.

ERF President Refayet Ullah Mirdha and General Secretary Abul Kashem were also present at the meeting.

He also talked about the inflation rate, exports, politics, the forthcoming parliamentary elections and some other issues. Later he answered questions of the newspersons.

Since the US’ new labour policy, announced in November last, the entrepreneurs are apprehensive thinking there could be a business sanction.

In reply to a question on this, the distinguished fellow  of CPD said, “It’s hard to assume whether there would be any sanctions on the trade and its nature. We’ve seen the US has raised some questions on labour rights and the work environment. In this context, I want to say let’s make advancements in the sectors we need to. We could do those by talking to the workers.”

Dwelling on the issue, he further expressed, “The workers are not seeking everything in a day. Making decisions bypassing them or without talking to appropriate representatives intensifies the crisis. That is why it is essential to compose a roadmap to resolve the problem after talking to them. The US knows what it would do. They might impose sanctions. But the country’s interest will grow more if we show a careless attitude to this.”

Responding to a question on the increase in the wealth  of governing party’s candidates by several fold, Mostafizur Rahman said, “I was astounded by seeing the affidavits of the candidates. This is a serious question as to how they could earn so much money in such a short time. Though the price of land worth Tk 10 million has been shown as Tk 100,000. This suggests the actual amount of their wealth is much more than the amount mentioned in the affidavits.”

“The political parties should analyse the wealth of their candidates. The Anti-Corruption Commission also should work on this to find out whether this huge amount of wealth is logical, or illogical and unethical,” he stressed.