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Country Forecast Bangladesh May 2018

Country Forecast Bangladesh May 2018

  • May 2018
  • ID: 329477
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Policy towards private enterprise and competition

2018-19: The government makes some efforts to promote private-sector participation through public-private partnerships. Policies promoting a more competitive business environment are implemented, albeit inconsistently.

2020-22: Liberalisation of markets continues, albeit at a slow pace. The private sector continues to be the dominant driver of economic activity and growth.

Policy towards foreign investment

2018-19: Foreign investment remains concentrated in the telecommunications, banking and textile industries. Investment in the power generation and transport sectors is dominated by Japan and Russia and increasingly by China and India.

2020-22: The authorities boost efforts to attract foreign investment into strategic sectors, including power generation and transport.

Foreign trade and exchange controls

2018-19: Tariffs remain high to protect local producers. Current-account deficits, inflationary pressures and a narrowing interest rate differential with the US will weigh on the taka, but this will not prompt a change in the exchange-rate regime.

2020-22: The government is likely to sign, or at least start pursuing, free-trade agreements with major trading partners as it seeks to increase the size of the external sector as a proportion of nominal GDP.


2018-19: Tax revenue growth remains low owing to the postponement of a new, flat rate of value-added tax (VAT) until 2019. The tax system will remain complicated and inefficient by regional standards.

2020-22: Tax revenue as a proportion of nominal GDP picks up gradually as the tax net widens and the authorities decentralise tax collection beyond the two largest cities: the capital, Dhaka, and Chittagong.


2018-19: Foreign interest in Bangladesh's stockmarket increases in line with improved investor confidence and Chinese part-ownership of the main bourse.

2020-22: The government begins to issue sovereign debt bonds on foreign financial markets but, owing to persistent currency depreciation and a relatively low-interest-rate environment, foreign investor interest in these will be low.

The labour market

2018-19: Some progress is made to improve the protection of workers' rights and safety in the important garment sector. Minimum wages are increased and production costs go up in the industrial sector.

2020-22: Retaining skilled technical and professional personnel remains difficult, owing to ongoing outward migration. Bangladesh continues to send hundreds of thousands of workers to the Middle East to ease labour market pressures.


2018-19: Despite government efforts to attract greater investment into the power sector, electricity shortages persist. At least one big coal power station becomes operational.

2020-22: The supply of electricity improves as more diverse power sources come on stream, but power shortages persist owing to rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. Improvements in road and rail infrastructure benefit trade.

Technological readiness

2018-19: The quality of the e-commerce business environment remains poor. Low internet and mobile-phone penetration are an impediment to businesses.

2020-22: Expenditure on research and development as a proportion of GDP improves but will remain low by international standards.

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