A senior World Bank official Monday called on Bangladesh to accelerate pro-business reforms to reduce poverty.
"A dramatically accelerated pro-business reform program is essential if Bangladesh is to achieve its poverty reduction objective," Frederick T. Temple, the bank's country director in Dhaka, said at a bank-sponsored seminar.
He said poverty reduction is the overarching objective of the country's development strategy.
Maintaining macroeconomic stability, reforming the banking system, improving infrastructure, privatization, improving governance and trade liberalization were among the steps recommended by Temple.
According to official estimates, more than 30 million of Bangladesh's 120 million population suffer from extreme poverty and efforts made by the government and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) over the years have failed to make a significant improvement.
Temple said an export-oriented private sector could help the country to reduce poverty and that the bank's assistance strategy was designed to support private sector-led development.
Referring to inadequate infrastructure, Temple singled out the country's poor telecommunications and power systems, and said the bank was ready to support any reforms in these areas.
Yussuf Abdullah Harun, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said there was enough evidence that private sector in Bangladesh had the entrepreneurial ability to face international competition successfully.
But there must be a level-playing-field for competition, he added, calling on the bank to press neighboring India to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade -- DHAKA (AFP)
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