Drivers of Economy


Farmers, Workers and Migrant Labours – these three heroes’ made stable our economy during unprecedented economic recession at last two years. The government takes measures to boost the agricultural production to achieve food self-sufficiency to meet local demands. Along with farmers, the migrant’s labourers have a great role to make stability of economy, but the government fails to secure jobs of migrants labourers at foreign countries. The industrial workers particularly the readymade garments workers added their sweat to remain the exports of the country stable without getting their minimum labour rights from the entrepreneurs. The workers of state owned industries face the privatization dogma fearing job losses at every moment.

Recently published Finance ministry report on macro-economic situation briefs that the government’s cash balance up to December 2009 reached Tk.12,000 crore on receipt of more foreign aid and revenue but low expenditure. As per the report, around Tk 39,560 crore or 34.8 percent of the national budget for fiscal year 2009-10 was spent during July-December. The total budget size is Tk 1,13,819 crore. Of the amount already spent, revenue expenditure in the first six months of the current fiscal stood at Tk 30,753 crore, or 36.9 percent of the allocated Tk 83,319 crore. Meantime, the amount spent for the annual development programme (ADP) is Tk 8,807 crore, or 29 percent of the ADP size of Tk 30,500 crore. On revenue earnings, it said Tk 35,115 crore, or 44.2 percent of the targeted amount has been collected. The foreign aid received is Tk 6073 crore. It was Tk 1112 crore in the same period a year ago.

 Farmers

The farmers of Bangladesh produce crops to feed the nation. What are the socio-economic situation of major drivers of econmic like farmers? The government has provided soft loan and subsidies to the farmers for boosting agriculture and the parliamentary committee on agriculture asked the agriculture ministry to introduce crop insurance for farmers to encourage them to increase their crop production. But the farmers do not get fair prices of the crops which they produce due to lack of government initiative.

The agricultural land reduces alamingly and only hope that the parliamentary committee on agriculture takes an initiative to hold a tripartite meeting of the land, agriculture and environment ministries to formulate a law to save the country’s net cropland.

A total of 40,000 landless families are planned to provide khas land an initiative has been taken by Land Ministry of Government. Under this programme the government plans to prodvide khas lands to at least 100 landless families in every upazila by June this year. A total of 40,000 landless families will be provided with lands in this programme. The land minister also says that the government has already arranged land for a total of 14,000 families by December 2009 following its electoral pledge.

Workers

The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the country’s businessmen to help remove the income inequalities between the rich and the poor by generating job opportunities in the industrial sector. “We need to eliminate income inequality for a balanced society. Creating more employment, the businessmen in the private sector can help end such discrimination”. The the government do not take any initiative to revise the existing minimum wages of workers while living cost increases double within last two years.

An alarming news published at newspaper which says five sugar mills like Joypurhat, Pabna, Natore, North Bengal and Rajshahi sugar mills have suspended cane crashing due to a shortfall in sugarcane production. Another five mills in Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh, Shampur and Rangpur are likely to face closure for the same reason. All the 15 sugar mills in the country produce around 2.1 lakh tonnes of sugar against national demand for around 12-14 lakh tonnes a year.

The acute shortage of sugarcane forced growers into other cultivable crops. Moreover, farmers also incurred losses in previous years despite a record production  of sugarcane as they failed to get proper prices. Sugarcane prices have been fixed this season at Tk 66 a maund at mill gate and Tk 64.50 at outer centres by the government.

The mismanagement of state-owned industries should be counted while privatisation dogma waiting to see the looser profile of these industries to privatise these industries. From experiences of privatisation of state owned companies were not set any example to make profit and increases jobs rather it proved that any privatised industries could able to continue production which reduces of unemployment of the country.  

Migrant Labourers

Remittance crosses $10 billion mark for the first time in Bangladesh history in the year 2009 because migrants, a main driver of the country’s economic progress, sent more money home despite all odds during global recession. With 20 percent growth, remittance inflow reached $10.72 billion last year, although the year marked a fall in manpower exports. In 2008, the remittance was $8.97 billion. The overseas employment ministry data shows that the number of migrant workers declined 46 percent to 475,278 persons in January-December of 2009. In 2008, the number was 875,055.

The monthly average number of the workers going abroad with jobs almost halved last year from around 80,000 persons in 2008. Still, the remittance inflow grew 20 percent, turning down World Bank forecast of 12-15 percent such growth for 2009. The international lender in a recent report expressed its fear about low growth on the basis of the declining trend of manpower exports.

In first 8 months of this year (The daily Somokal, dated 13 September 2009), manpower export decreases 47.10 percent than same period of last year; but the remittance flow increases 17.08 percents. Experts say that manpower export reduces due to global economic recession, mal-practices of man-power recruitment agencies and lack of proper initiatives of government.

Period Manpower Export (Person) Remittance Earning (Tk)
January – August 2008 618,806 412,469,500,000(592,421,428.57 USD)
January – August 2009 327,359 482,902,500,000(6,898,607,142.86 USD)
Reduced (-)/Increased (+) – 291,447 (47.09%) +70,433,000,000 (17.8%)

Foreign Loan and Loan Payment

 Period Foreign Loan Received by Govt. Govt. Paid to Creditor Remain (Net) Amount of Foreign Loan
First 6 Month2009-10 130,40,00,000 *45,58,00,000 84,82,00,000
First 6 Month,2008-09 107,00,00,000 ** 88,00,00,000

All Amount in USD, Source: The Daily Ittefaq, 05 February 2010, * Original Loan: USD 35,87,00,000 + Interest: USD 9,71,00,000 = Total: USD 45,58,00,000, ** Data is not available

The above data shows that the government should invest their energies to secure overseas employment rather securing foreign loans. But the migrants labourers face difficulties at foreign lands due to mal-practices of some man-power recruiting agencies. The government should take some bold steps to major employer countries to ensure job security of migrants labouers. 

Drivers of Economy

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