Bangladesh to try for 8pc economic growth in next 5 years

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Bangladesh to try for 8pc economic growth in next 5 years

Finance Minister AMA Muhith, who is going to cross 83 years later this month, is fully energetic and engages himself in full business of the very critical ministry. During his tenures in last nine years, the country has made notable progress in socio-economic spheres. The Daily Star has taken an exclusive interview of Muhith. Please go to page B4 to read the full interview.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith said he dreams of the country achieving 8 percent economic growth in the next five years. 

“Bangladesh should never fall below 7 percent GDP growth from now onwards, for at least next five years. The target to reach 8 percent will surely be achieved,” he told The Daily Star in an exclusive interview at his official residence in the capital on December 23 last year.

The ministers in the seventies and eighties were not well-educated about development as opposed to the present-day scenario, he said.

“The whole thrust of the government is development. Now every minister is an economist, to some extent.”

Citing fast development in the last nine years of the Awami League-led government, Muhith said, “I am very happy because the people of Bangladesh are now much happier.”

They do not suffer from frustration, acute poverty and deprivation. Poverty is not a big problem anymore.

People in villages are living comfortably. All wear quite good clothes, which, he said, is a matter of great satisfaction.

The future of Bangladesh is bright, the minister said.

In response to a query, he acknowledged the rise in corruption alongside the economic development.

Asked why the government is not taking action against former Basic Bank chairman Abdul Hye Bachchu, he said he didn't want to say anything about it.

“I don't think that he will escape the due process of law.” Bachchu cannot go abroad without an approval of the authorities, Muhith added.

Regarding the low progress in the strengthening of local governments, he said there was some progress but the structure had not changed yet.

“I mean curtailing some power of the MPs. This is very hard. You see, the MPs are very powerful. They don't want rivals in the constituencies.”

The bureaucrat-turned politician, who is now 83-year old, said he could survive, despite some embarrassing comments in public, for two reasons -- one is the prime minister's confidence in him and his age.