The government has formed a 22-member committee to address the challenges that Bangladesh will face as a result of its transition from a least developed country (LDCs) into a developing one.
The committee headed by Ahmad Kaikaus, principal secretary to the prime minister, will carry out preparation, planning, implementation and monitoring to address the possible challenges and create an action plan to overcome those.
It is learnt that the committee will determine the sectors and the level of impact in the post-transition period. Moreover, it will map up the roles of the main responsibilities and associated ministries, divisions, and agencies designated for each sector.
The committee will take initiatives for commercial expansion through bilateral, regional and international agreements. It will provide suggestions on the formulation of tariff policies consistent with free trade agreements.
At the same time, the ministry, divisions or organisation concerned will take a precise and timely action plan and implement it.
It will provide suggestions and regular monitoring on the implementation of action plans adopted by ministries, divisions or organisations.
Bangladesh will lose various international assistance in the period of status transition. Duty-free and quota-free access and easy and low-interest loans from bilateral or multilateral parties will shrink.
Generally, countries that are comparatively weaker among the developing countries are considered LDCs. The group was formed in 1971.
Bangladesh was included in the list in 1975.
If everything goes well, Bangladesh will be positioned in the club of developing countries after five years. Recently, it has been recommended to graduate from the list of LDCs.
The final recognition is given at the UN General Assembly three years after the final recommendation is provided by the UN Committee for Development Policy (CDP). Such a recommendation is made if a country achieves a certain standard in triennial assessments twice in a row.
But the duration has been extended by two years to enable preparations to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Bangladesh had asked for additional two years during a meeting with the CDP on January 15.
Mustafizur Rahman, a distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, told The Daily Star that a concerted effort had been taken, and that was really a good thing.
“Now is the time. We do not have much time to take preparation. In the next five years, we have to take preparation at various stages,” he said.
“We need to make preparations for the impact this will have on various sectors of the economy. And it is needed to take the necessary preparation to build up various economic partnerships in future.”
Rahman called for forming a negotiation cell so that “we can easily find out the offer list and request list of what we give and what we want. This is a very important issue.”
“We have to find out what our offensive and defensive interests are and which are related to that. And then they have to work. Along with that, an overall vision is needed for us,” he said.
The committee will fully monitor the whole thing, he said.
The members of the committee are senior secretaries of the information technology division, the finance division and the commerce ministry, chairman of the National Board of Revenue, a member of the general economics division, the secretary of the PMO, the Economic Relations Division, foreign, agriculture, environment and Liberation War Affairs ministries.
The executive chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, chairman of the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission, president of the Federation of the Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries, and Planning Commission Member Sharifa Khan are also in the committee.