Dhaka –Asian Development Bank has suggested Bangladesh to look beyond its prime export-oriented garment industry for sustained growth in the years to come.
The lending agency’s suggestion came in a study published on Thursday that urged Bangladesh to ‘shift workers to more highly productive sectors’ than garment industry.
Because of what it says, it is essential to widely share the fruits of Bangladesh’s consistent growth among the poor.
The report titled ‘Bangladesh: Looking Beyond Garments – Employment Diagnostic Study’ is result of a joint study by with International Labour Organization examines the nature and magnitude of the employment challenge Bangladesh faces.
Bangladesh, the second largest clothing producing country after China, earns more than 80 per cent of its export from the garment sector, where nearly 4 million workers, mostly women, are engaged.
Economic growth in Bangladesh, above 6 per cent in most years since the 2000s, has been on the fast track since the 1990s.
Not many developing countries, especially the least developed, have been able to achieve this consistently for such a long period, said the lending agency.
“Yet despite the jobs generated in the export-oriented readymade garment industry, the fruits of growth have not been widely shared,” it said.
ADB says Bangladesh’s challenge to reduce poverty calls for increasing employment opportunities beyond garment sector.
To transmit the benefits of growth into incomes for the poor, ADB suggested ‘structural economic transformation’.
The study argues for ‘still stronger growth with more rapid industrialization. It stresses the need for substantial diversification of production and employment within the manufacturing and agriculture sectors.’
It also underscores the importance of upgrading education and skills so that people can be productively employed at home.
Bangladesh’s challenges include raising the quality of all levels of education, increasing enrollment in technical and vocational education and training, and addressing the issue of skills mismatch.