WB funds for capacity building 'should be directed thru' pvt sector instead of govt'
The World Bank funds should be directed towards the capacity building of the private sector through different chamber bodies and trade organisations instead of the government.
Speakers made this observation while addressing at a discussion meeting held on World Bank's Role in the Private Sector Development of Bangladesh held at Bangladesh Chamber of Industries (BCI) conference room in the city Sunday.
Critical of different reforms strategies undertaken by the Bank so far, they added that private sector growth would gather much greater pace through direct funding for capacity building and other potential sectors.
Country Director of World Bank (WB) Christine I Wallich joined the meeting as the chief guest. The BCI organised the discussion meeting while its president AK Azad chaired it.
Wallich observed that Bangladesh's tariff structure is still very protective and reduction in the tariff structures are needed for meeting challenges of post-Multi Fibre Arrangements and combating illegal cross-border trade.
"Reducing tariff should be the prime agenda for the government right now", she categorically said.
She also said that social and macro economic scenarios were satisfactory but the quality of justice, and law and order are worse compared to India and Pakistan.
"Growth of 5.0 per cent and containing inflation below double digit in the last 15 years are positive indications for the economy", she added.
Senior Private Sector Development Specialist Khurshid Alam, Awami League leader Faruk Khan MP, former deputy prime minister Jamal Uddin, former deputy finance minister AFM Fakhrul Islam Munshi, adviser to FBCCI Manjur Ahmed attended the meeting, among others.
The WB representative in Bangladesh also said that Bangladesh is among the 10 growing economies out of 31 populated countries and its achievement over more than three decades in many sectors are praiseworthy.
"It (Bangladesh) has attained fast developments in many areas than West Bengal and socials sectors like education, reducing gender disparity, increased participation of women in the labour force also intensified over the period" she said.
She added that success of the Universal Primary Education is commendable in South Asia.
"These achievements are the positive sides of a balance sheet while its negative sides are public service, which even poor in comparison to Nepal, speedy deterioration of law and order situation, access to power by only 30 per cent of the people are also negative sides of the balance sheet", she added.
President of the BCI stressed on addressing the trade-related needs for integration into donor and multilateral development agency annual programmes at the country level in order to ensure their sustainable funding and the respective roadmaps.
He also said that power sector financing has become important as the production of small and medium enterprises (SME) are facing obstructions due to the power shortage.
"WB should come forward with a view to financing power sector development to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to the SMEs", he said.
Stressing on the need for professional skills of the financial institutions, he said that investment through the designated financing institutions and similar entities and re-lending rate of interest should not more than plus 3.0 per cent of the cost fund.