Awami League election manifesto on economy: Per capita income $2,750, reserve $50 billion by FY2023-24

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Awami League President, and also the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina unveils her party’s 21-point manifesto for the upcoming general polls at a hotel in Dhaka on Tuesday; December 18, 2018 Focus Bangla

 

The AL manifesto vowed to join Trans-Asian highway and Trans-Asian railway to expand trade and commerce. It stressed to modernise airports in Rajshahi, Sylhet, Chittagong and Barisal

Awami League (AL) in its manifesto on economy pledged to bring down the rate of poverty from 21.50% to 12.30% and extreme poverty to 4.5% from the current level of 11.30% in 2023-24 fiscal year.

Targeting the 2023-24 fiscal year, the ruling party projected 10% Gross Domestic Product (GDP), per capita income at $2,750, foreign currency reserve at $50 billion, export earnings at $72 billion and import volume at $110 billion by the timeframe.

The election manifesto stressed on further expanding the services of bank and insurance sectors, pledged to enhance the investment-GDP ratio to 40%, enhancing per capita income to $5,479 in 2030 and eliminating poverty by 2041.

Focusing on infrastructure, the manifesto pledged to implement an elevated ring road and eastern bypass surrounding Dhaka, Dhaka-Chittagong expressway and express railway and establishing a Dhaka-Chittagong bullet train.

The AL manifesto vowed to join Trans-Asian highway and Trans-Asian railway to expand trade and commerce. It stressed to modernise airports in Rajshahi, Sylhet, Chittagong and Barisal.

The manifesto pledged to strengthen Bangladesh Bank, undertaking stern action against loan forgery and effective measures to lessen defaulted loans in the banking system.

It vowed to create employment opportunities for around one crore people in the proposed economic zones in the country and  establishing industrial parks on both sides of the Padma bridge.

Also Read- Infographic: Awami League’s 21-point manifesto

Economists stressed on improving institutional capacity to implement the election pledges if Awami League is voted to power.

“The capacity of achieving election pledges lies on previous performance, economic and political governance, institutional development, revenue mobilization and project implementation,” Dr Ahsan H Mansur, Executive Director of Policy Research Institute (PRI) told the Dhaka Tribune.

“In the election manifesto both the parties have shown there are significant expectation gaps.”

However, the AL is more systematic in approach as it has done a successful five year plan and implemented many economic agendas with mixed results.

Beyond that, if we look at the broad policies there is absence of revenue mobilization perspective from both parties and no party made any pledges on it. Without revenue mobilization none of these ambitions can be materialized.

In attaining the 10% GDP by 2025, we have to invest heavily in infrastructure to attract foreign direct investment as well as domestic investment. To this end, the party who will be in the power has to ensure and establish good governance. But neither of the parties is talking on these issues clearly or broadly, said the economist.

The AL has worked out the detailed plan on implementing their vision. So, they are at an advantage and are well prepared in terms of plans, said Ahsan.

One of AL’s major weaknesses on economic issues is the absence of a conspicuous statement about the tainted banking sector. They did not mention the deterioration that happened in the banking sector, nor did they outline any action plan to improve the situation, said Ahsan.

Former caretaker government advisor AB Mirza Azizul Islam said in bringing normalcy and discipline to the banking sector, the ruling party should have given a clear indication of how to overcome.

Former Bangladesh Bank governor Salehuddin Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune:“At the current pace, a 10% GDP growth is attainable. But investment from home and abroad is the key to success.”

During its regime, the AL government did not bring the bank looters to book. Taking lesson from the past, the AL should take punitive action against the bank looters if it is voted to power to reduce the default loans and bringing stability in the sector, said the economist.

Source: Dhaka Tribune.

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