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.