Bangladesh eying 10% annual growth, says Hasina
Sayeed Muhammad of DOT
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh’s rapid economic expansion will pick up further momentum to hit 10% annual growth over the next three years.
The 71-year-old leader said her nation will shed its “least developed country” status from 2024, reports the Nikkei. Hasina has overseen nearly a decade of consistent expansions of around 6% to 7%, with the economy growing 7.86% in real terms in the fiscal year that ended in June. The prime minister said growth is projected to accelerate to 8.25% this fiscal year and would continue to rise. “If elected, I can assure you that the program we have undertaken will get us up to 10% by 2021,” she expressed her hope.
According to Hasina, Bangladesh could become Asia’s fastest growing economy through a range a policies. The country planned to set up 100 special economic zones. Currently 11 of the zones are now functioning and 79 are under construction.
The December 360 election will be a crucial test of her policies. The previous poll in 2014, in which her Awami League retained power, was boycotted by BNP, the largest opposition group. The BNP, headed by jailed opposition leader Khaleda Zia, will participate this time, but opinion polls show that the Awami League is expected to win a large majority in the 300-seat parliament.
Hasina said Bangladesh will begin seeking bids for its second nuclear power plant project as soon as next year. The plant is part of Dhaka’s efforts to expand and diversify the country’s power supply amid its prolonged economic boom.
Natural gas covers 58% of Bangladesh’s 17,340 megawatts of installed power generation capacity, with domestic gas production declining. The country plans to significantly increase imports of liquefied natural gas as well as employ nuclear power and renewable energy to meet demand, which is growing by an estimated 10% annually.