Banks’ financing to power sector hits pvt sector credit: Muhith
Land shortage deters FDIUnited News of Bangladesh . Dhaka
Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith on Sunday said that the banks’ financing to the power sector had created a serious problem for their credit to the private sector.
Investment in the private sector power plants took away the bank credit for which other sectors are not getting credit, he said, adding that the present government had inherited the infrastructure related problems — main being power shortage, and put its attention to overcome it.
Muhith made the observations while speaking as chief guest at the inaugural session of the two-day IGC South Asia Growth Conference at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital.
His comments came at a time when the government’s policy for allowing setting up of liquid fuel-based costly rental and quick rental power plants by private sector faces severe criticism as it puts pressure on the economy.
International Growth Centre organised the conference, titled ‘Issues in South Asia Economic Growth-linking Research to Policy’, with economist Wahiduddin Mahmud in the chair.
A number of leading economists from different countries across the world, including the South Asian region, are attending the conference to discuss different economic and development issues.
Prime minister’s economic affairs adviser Mashiur Rahman, Robin Burgess of London School of Economics, Tony Venables of Oxford University, Mark Rosenzweig of Yale University, Ijaz Nabi of Lahore University and Dilip Mookherjee of Boston University spoke at the inaugural session of the conference.
Focusing on land scarcity in the country as another infrastructure bottleneck, Muhith said industries had been facing this problem. Availability of high land, road connectivity and electricity are among the infrastructure problems that the investors are already facing. But these are not resolved yet.
To overcome the problem, the government has initiated the move to create some special economic zones, he said. But rules and regulations on land allocation in the SEZ are yet to be finalised, he added.
‘We seek advice from the researchers in this regard.’
He said the NGOs particularly Grameen Bank has made a big contribution in the empowerment of women.
Agreeing with economist Tony Venables, Muhith said Bangladesh was changing fast with private sector-led growth, but still attention is needed for the organisational capacity building.
Mashiur Rahman said loss of agricultural land has been a big concern with the industrialisation in many areas. ‘So, we need to look at industrial growth giving attention to land use in proper manner,’ he said adding that there should be a balance in between development and environment.
Tony Venables said dynamic private sector had been creating million of jobs in the South Asian region from which other nations can take a lesson. Fiscal and managerial capacity building has been a big challenge for the governments in the region, he added.
Mark Rosenzweig said Bangladesh had made a great achievement in the schooling programme. Now 90 per cent of girls attend the school in Bangladesh, he said.
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