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Home » Politics: Bangladesh » >economic analysis of AL’s polls manifesto: mix of doable, pragmatic and lofty things

>economic analysis of AL’s polls manifesto: mix of doable, pragmatic and lofty things

>POLITICS had been uninspiring for quite some time. It made a turnaround when the Awami League unveiled its election manifesto Friday. More than a list of promises to lure voters, it is an economic document for development with clearly set goals, some achievable and some quite lofty, to hold the party accountable if it is elected to power. The problem with the manifesto, however, is elsewhere — in the question of implementation and financing, Inam Ahmed and Sharier Khan write in The Daily Star.
In setting short-term goals, the AL has obviously kept curbing of inflation as the number one task and it has laid down some economic mechanisms such as increasing domestic production (details of which has been elaborated to some extent later in the document), making imports easier, market monitoring, dismantling monopoly business cartels, and setting up authorities to control prices. The party in power after the December election, whether it is AL or its archrival BNP, will definitely enjoy the blessings of global commodity price downturn to tame inflation. Oil price also looks set to remain low, which might even fall to $25 a barrel. And that means, with the proposed mechanism and the global price level, tackling inflation should not be a tough task.
But more than that, the AL manifesto has been quick to come out of the domestic circuit to grab the global realities when it acknowledges the global financial meltdown as a prime concern. The realisation that an information depository is of utmost importance, is evidence that the AL feels the urgency that the world events should be followed closely for taking effective measures. Mention of global warming as an issue for Bangladesh also reflects its better understanding of the globalisation process.
Its target for an 8 percent GDP growth by 2013 in medium term and 10 percent by 2017, reduction of poverty to 25 percent from the current 45 percent in five years, massive social safety network, village level rationing, employment schemes for the jobless — all sound good. But as said before, the problem lies with implementation and financing. Looking at the total manifesto, a part of it needs political will and a part — economic acumen. The AL showed its political will in the past by signing the Ganges deal and the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Treaty. It will need such wills again for realising the intentions of joining the Asian Highway and Railway, and building the deep seaport.

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Spectator

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