State of the Bangladesh Economy in the run‐up to the National Election 2008

Independent Review of Bangladesh’s Development
JEL codes: 
The objective of this report is to provide CPD’s assessment of the Bangladesh macroeconomic situation as the country moves towards the elections. As is known, CPD carries out analysis and assessment of the movement of major macroeconomic indicators on an ongoing basis, carried out under its flagship programme titled Independent Review of Bangladesh’s Development (IRBD). In keeping with this tradition an interim report is prepared around the middle of the fiscal year to assess the performance of the economy during the first half of the year, and highlighting the major challenges which need to be addressed during the subsequent months to achieve major targets set out in the budget. This year the timing of this assessment was chosen a view to examine the state of the economy in the backdrop of the national elections. Indeed a close look at the election manifestos of various parties indicates an appreciation of the economic challenges that lie before the country, a concern for the need to address these and an attempt to put forward various suggestions towards this. In this regard, the present report will also take a critical look at the manifestos which articulate their respective stances as they face the electorate with their respective programmes. Based on the analysis of the economy and examination of the manifesto, the report identifies a number of challenges which the newly elected government will need to undertake on a priority basis. It is hoped that such an analysis will be of use to the newly elected government as it takes on the responsibility of managing the economy in these times of great expectations and major challenges. As is known, the budget of FY 2008‐09 has set a growth target of 6.5 per cent. The possibility of achieving this target has been questioned by various quarters in view of the ongoing global financial crisis and their possible consequences for the Bangladesh economy. The newly elected government will only come into the scene when the current fiscal year has crossed half way of the journey. This report also makes an assessment of whether growth targets set for FY 2008‐09 can be met and identifies areas which will need to get priority if these are to be met.