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Confrontational politics, red tape block BD’s economic growth: WB

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Staff Reporter
World Bank (WB) country director in Bangladesh Johannes Zutt observed confrontational politics and bureaucratic red tape are the major challenges for the country to accelerate its economic growth and reduce poverty.
“Divisive and confrontation politics can create policy uncertainty and impede efforts to address critical problems requiring long-term engagement,” he said at a press briefing held at the WB office in Dhaka yesterday.
Johannes Zutt in his presentation, ‘Key Priorities for Accelerating Growth and Poverty Reduction’, said many Bangladeshi institutions, which were established when the country was at much lower levels of income, are not adequate for a country approaching the middle-income status.
There is no integrated financial management information system in the country and its state-owned commercial banks have recently been plagued with several financial scams, he observed.
Zutt suggested six priority areas to improve economic governance, including strengthening the judiciary, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), the Election Commission (EC) and improving the record-keeping system, particularly the land records.
The WB country director also suggested strengthening the financial sector oversight and supervision for the sector’s stability, efficiency and resilience, and making the tax collection system simpler, fairer, more efficient, more comprehensive and more transparent.
He said Bangladesh will partially achieve MDGs for poverty reduction and primary enrolment, and is on track for ensuring gender parity in education, preventing child mortality, maternal health, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
Bangladesh has done well in terms of GDP and per capita income, but other Asian countries did even better, he added.
WB Dhaka Office’s lead economist Dr Zahid Hussain was present.