$50b more investment needed a year to meet SDGs


The country currently has at least US$ 49.9 billion investment deficit a year to finance the Sustainable Development Goals against the world investment projection at US$ 5 trillion for the same purpose, the World Bank said in a report on Sunday.
The report on Sustainable Development Goal : Challenges for Bangladesh was presented at a dialogue organised by International Chambers of Commerce at Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in the capital.
In a keynote paper, World Bank’s Bangladesh lead economist Zahid Hussain said that Bangladesh would require at least US$ 109.4 billion per annum and the current investment is only US$ 59.9 billion.
‘There is an investment gap of US$ 49.9 billion for SDGs,’ he said.
Zahid said that considering the world investment for SDGs at US$ 7 trillion, Bangladesh would require an annual investment of US$ 153.4 billion and in that case the current financing gap would increase to US$ 93.9 billion.
He said that at present national savings is 29.02 per cent of the gross domestic product, foreign direct investment is 0.9 per cent, net foreign aid 1.4 per cent and illicit financial outflow is 1.2 per cent.
‘By 2020 Bangladesh has plans to increase the national saving to 31.9 per cent of the GDP and FDI to 3 per cent while dropping the overseas grants to 0.4 per cent,’ he said.
‘This led to the prioritisation challenge which is crucial as we have tradeoffs for every investment. I think the guiding principle here should be Millennium Development Goals. We should build on MDG achievements and address gaps that remain unresolved,’ he said.
Zahid said monitoring the goals and tracking the actual progress is an important challenge.
‘Monitoring of 8 MDGs, 20 targets and 60 indicators posed serious challenges to us. Now we have 17 SGDs, 169 targets and over 300 indicators. Among the 300 indicators, data for about one third indicators are not available for Bangladesh. So we have a genuine data challenge,’ he said.
Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director Mustafizur Rahman said the illicit outflow from the country would be higher.
‘The figure would be around 6 per cent of the GDP, approximately US$ 9 billion. I think coherence is one thing we should really focus on. SDGs is a global matter and we need to go along with the world,’ he said.
In September 2015, 193 countries at the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda titled Transforming our world : The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The 17 agenda includes ending poverty, ending hunger, ensuring health, ensuring education and achieving gender equality.
Speaking on the occasion, economist Wahiduddin Mahmud said that for achieving the SDGs the country needs to adopt low cost solutions.
‘We have produced cheap oral saline to fight the health problem which is a great achievement. We also produced cheap contraceptives to tackle the population problem which was great success. So we need to adopt low cost solution for the SDGs,’ he said.
Former caretaker government advisor Mirza Azizul Islam said that financing gap is not the only issue rather there are also issues of effective use of the existing funds.
‘There is huge foreign aid waiting in the pipeline which we could not use only because of our shortcomings in administration and institutional management. Building those capacities is more important,’ he said.
He also said that corruption was another factor that discouraged the private investment.
Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Syed Nasim Manzur, however, said that Bangladesh needed its separate set of priority.
‘We should have a separate priority as we have demographic dividend. We can be the manufacturing power house,’ he said.
Taking an apparent dig at the UK’s latest decision to ban direct cargo transportation by air from Bangladesh and the US’s reluctance to restore GSP facilities, commerce minister Tofail Ahmed said that the rise of Bangladesh looks like a problem for many.
‘There was no problem with flights [cargo transportation to UK] but suddenly it was stopped. USA has only 7 per cent trade union in private sector but they are forcing us to have 100 per cent trade union. Actually, the concept of World Trade Organisation is distorted. Otherwise, why we are not getting duty or quota free access in different markets,’ he said.
Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development executive director Mustafa K Mujeri said to achieve SDGs restructuring the development agenda is very much needed and new innovative ideas have to developed.
Former FBCCI president Mir Nasir Hossain and Business Initiative Leading Development chairman Asif Ibrahim said SMEs can play an important role to achieve SDGs.
ICC Bangladesh president Mahbubur Rahman, European Union ambassador Pierre Mayaudon, Chinese ambassador MA Ming Qiang,  former AmCham chairman Aftab ul Islam, ICCB vice president Rokia Afzal Rahman, BTMA president Tapan Chowdhury, IMF Resident Representative Stella Kaendera, PRI chairman  Zaidi Sattar, former FBCCI president AK Azad, former BGMEA president Anwarul Alam Chowdhury and former BKMEA president M Fazlul Hoque were present.

source : the new age

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