The economic model of the agricultural sector must change: Hossain Zillur Rahman


| Update:
Nov. 16, 2021, 11:43 a.m.

The country’s agricultural sector needs to be upgraded to intensified development from the current economic model based on cheap labor, said Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman.

“The agricultural sector plays a leading role in economic development. Now is the time to integrate the agricultural sector again into the country’s financial sector,” the famous economist said during a discussion in Dhaka on Monday.

While ready-to-wear and remittances play a key role in developing Bangladesh’s economy, the agricultural sector is another, which also plays a prominent role, added Dr Hossain, who is also the president of BRAC.

The Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) organized the plenary session – “Innovation in Monetary Policy, Economic Development and the Five-Year Plan” – on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Many sectors, including agriculture, are lagging behind due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, noted Dr Hossain, a former adviser to the interim government.

He said that despite a huge improvement in rural economies, they did not have enough data on the changes. “If we are to achieve our goals, data on rural economies is essential for shaping future plans. “

Among others, the former governor of the central bank, Dr Atiur Rahman, the executive director of the Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development (InM) Mustafa K Mujeri, the former vice-chancellor of the Agricultural University of Bangladesh, Dr MA Sattar Mandal, and BIBM Chair Professors Barkat-e-Khuda and Dr Muzaffer Ahmad also addressed the session, chaired by Md Akhtaruzzaman, Director General of BIBM.

Dr Atiur Rahman said that since the central bank provided political support, many small borrowers from microfinance institutions and banks have turned into small enterprises, micro, small and medium enterprises (CMSME), which facilitates Bangladesh’s growth trajectory.

Encouragingly, the government, with central bank refinancing support, has proposed a number of stimulus packages, focused on agriculture, CMSMEs and the informal sectors, to maintain momentum in economic activities.

Dr Mujeri said that Bangladesh had made remarkable progress in increasing economic growth and reducing poverty since its independence in 1971.

“In the past, Bangladesh was treated as a test for development. Today the scenario has changed a lot, as the economy has grown rapidly for more than a decade,” he added.

Dr Sattar Mandal said that the First Five Year Plan (FYP) from 1973 to 1978 was a roadmap for the economic development of Bangladesh.

Dr Barkat-e-Khuda said that high growth has been achieved through various inclusive banking sector activities.

A number of attendees, including economists, senior bankers, academics, media representatives and BIBM faculty, took part in the discussion.

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