Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy
Bangladesh prepares its debt servicing policy through its Medium-Term Macroeconomic Policy Statement (MTMPS). It analyses medium-term borrowing strategies along with the debt-risk management guide. The main aim is to form a deficit financing strategy by striking a balance between domestic and foreign borrowing. It is a policy document prepared by an interagency economic policy team led by Bangladesh’s Finance Ministry.
The Finance Division housed in the Finance Ministry is the lead agency. The other stakeholder agencies are the Economic Relations Division (Bangladesh’s donor relations body), the Bangladesh Bank (the central bank), the National Saving Directorate (the savings bond regulator) and the Controller General of Accounts (the public accounts oversight agency). The MTMPS sets a three- to five-year ‘medium-term’ resource allocation plan. This has been the key driver of Bangladesh’s deft macroeconomic management.
Foreign Aid Budget and Accounts wing
Foreign Aid Budget and Accounts wing is a dedicated department within the Economic Relations Division of Bangladesh’s Finance Ministry. It manages the country’s external debt and the budgeting of foreign aid. It is also the government’s internal data centre for external aid and debt-related information. Its main debt management functions are:
- Collection, recording and reporting of data on foreign aid commitments;
- External debt management, including debt profiling and debt servicing. Here, a Preparation of Debt Service Liability budget is prepared for all creditors;
- Collaborative debt sustainability analysis with intergovernmental financial bodies, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF);
- Provision of information on external borrowing to decision-makers;
- Annual reconciliation of repayment with the Bangladesh Bank (the central bank) and Controller General of Accounts (the public accounts oversight agency).
Special Drawing Rights held with the IMF
The Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) are an interest-bearing international reserve asset created by the intergovernmental financial agency the IMF in 1969. An SDR allocation is a way of supplementing IMF member countries’ foreign exchange reserves. SDRs are allocated only to IMF members that participate in the SDR programme. In August 2021, Bangladesh received USD 1.4 billion from the IMF’s total allocation of USD 650 billion of SDRs.
Bangladesh formulated its prime insolvency law, the Bankruptcy Act, in 1997. The law provides opportunities to both creditors and debtors to initiate bankruptcy proceedings. It has safeguard provisions for creditors, enabling distribution of the sale proceeds of the asset liquidation of the debtor equitably among such creditors. It also protects the interests of debtors. After the bankrupt person’s properties have been distributed, all other unpaid debts are cancelled. On becoming free from past obligations, the person can start a new business. Currently, in 2022, the Bankruptcy Act is undergoing amendment.
Bangladesh established two special bankruptcy courts in 1997, in the high-commerce capital Dhaka and the main port of Chattagram. The courts are empowered to decide all matters related to bankruptcy proceedings.
Money Loan Court Act
Bangladesh enacted its main loan default law, the Money Loan Court Act, in 2003. The law deals with banks and other financial institutions. It has established a separate court for dealing with money loan cases. It obliges banks and other financial institutions to auction any mortgaged property before approaching the court.
Secured Transactions Act (draft)
Bangladesh formulated its Secured Transaction (Movable Property) Act in 2018. This is still in the draft phase and has not been enacted into law. It recognises movable property as collateral against loans from the banking system. Furniture, gold, vehicles, computers, patents, goodwill and copyrights, as well as many other tangible and intangible assets, will be considered collateral. According to the draft act, a dedicated regulatory body, the Secured Transaction Registration Authority, will be formed to oversee secured transactions.
Mental Health Act
Bangladesh enacted its prime Mental Health Act in 2018, replacing the redundant colonial-era Lunacy Act of 1912. The law focuses on the welfare of citizens with mental health conditions around the country. There are provisions protecting their dignity and property while facilitating access to rehabilitation.
National Mental Health Policy
Bangladesh formulated its Mental Health Policy in 2022. This is a framework of action for quality mental healthcare. The policy encapsulates comprehensive care, treatment and rehabilitation for people with mental health conditions. It also strengthens the governance of the mental healthcare sector.
Mental Health Strategy 2020–2030
Bangladesh formulated a decadal Mental Health Strategy 2020-2030 to establish a responsive countrywide system for mental healthcare services. This incorporates features to enable access to information.
Psychosocial Counselling Policy
Bangladesh formulated its Psychosocial Counselling Policy in 2016. The aim of this is to provide services related to mental health and overall wellbeing for a healthy nation. The policy has a 360° approach to ensuring that the population is culturally, mentally and socially healthy. It aims to increase access to psychosocial services for all people.
Local Government Division
Bangladesh’s apex body for urban governance is its Local Government Division, housed in the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives. This covers two major categories of urban governments, through the city corporations (for the country’s 12 largest cities) and small-town municipalities called ‘pourashavas.’
City corporations and small-town municipalities ‘pourashavas’
In Bangladesh, there are two tiers of urban local government: the city corporation for large cities and small-town municipalities (locally known as pourashavas). At present, there are 12 city corporations. City corporations and small-town municipalities are mandated to deliver municipal services to urban people. Their services include road maintenance, waste management, street lighting, birth registration, maintenance of cemeteries, mosquito eradication and park maintenance.
Urban Development Directorate
Bangladesh’s main regulatory agency for urban issues is the Urban Development Directorate, under the Housing and Public Works Ministry. Its responsibility is to oversee urban planning across the country.
City development authorities
City development authorities are responsible for city-specific planning. They are responsible for infrastructure development, housing development and zoning. They are the lead agency responsible to deal with other relevant government agencies. They are run by their respective governing bodies and executive teams. There are five city development authorities in Bangladesh: the Capital Development Authority (in Dhaka city), Chattogram Development Authority, Khulna Development Authority, Rajshashi Development Authority and Cox’s Bazar Development Authority.
Water and Sewerage Authority
Bangladesh’s running water and sewerage service agency is the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA). WASA is a publicly owned service delivery agency. It is functional in only a few big cities and is sub-organised by city, such as into the Dhaka WASA and the Chattogram WASA. These agencies work on the expansion and maintenance of water and sewerage services. They are run by their respective governing bodies and executive teams.
Bangladesh formulated its latest Housing Policy in 2016, revising the previous version from 2013. It was designed to reflect the context of an increasing population, decreasing per capita land, environmental deterioration and international trends. It was envisioned under the mission of ‘Housing Is a Right.’ The target is to provide low-cost housing to all people.
Detailed Area Plan 2016–2035
The Detailed Area Plan 2016–2035 is a masterplan for Bangladesh’s primate city of Dhaka. This is still a working draft but it is a reference document for urban planners. It is a huge planning document with a large amount information on Dhaka’s future. According to the draft plan, Dhaka city will be enlarged into Dhaka Metropolitan Region. This will be the guiding document for future construction, land usage and demarcation of the water system. It essentially represents a project to restructure Dhaka into a polycentric megacity with a well-integrated transport system.
Bangladesh formulated its latest Industrial Policy in 2016. Its previous versions were in 1973, 1975, 1982, 2005 and 2010. The policy is designed to expand the economy while creating jobs by coordinating private and governmental efforts. It also aims at reducing poverty and unemployment by harnessing the information technology-based Fourth Industrial Revolution. The target is to balance the interests of workers and entrepreneurial development. With a view to mitigating the scarcity of skilled workers in the industrial sector, the policy stresses the need for training. At present, the policy is undergoing a reform.
Plastic Industry Development Policy (draft)
Bangladesh formulated its Plastic Industry Development Policy in 2021. This is still in the draft phase, and has not been adopted. The plastic industry in Bangladesh is promising in terms of foreign investment, local employment generation and export diversification. The policy is being formulated to make the plastic industry more export-oriented. It has an industry expansion roadmap that covers the period up to 2030.
Automobile Industry Development Policy
Bangladesh formulated its Automobile Industry Development Policy in 2021. This aims to develop the automobile industry to meet the high demand that exists. It also aims to reduce automobile import dependency. It hopes to ensure competence in automobile engineering and facilitate the production of automobiles and parts. It has scope for cooperation and joint investment between local industries and international brands.
Motorcycle Industry Development Policy
Bangladesh formulated its Motorcycle Industry Development Policy in 2018. This identifies that the motorcycle industry has export potential. It aims to facilitate motorcycle manufacturing development so as to diversify the export basket. It is designed to expand capacity from the assembling of imported components to a full-fledged industry. It also has provisions on job creation and saving foreign currency by locally manufacturing motorcycles ahead of projected demand.
Leather and Leather Goods Development Policy
Bangladesh formulated its Leather and Leather Goods Development Policy in 2019. This identifies the export potential of the leather industry. It aims to accelerate export earnings from the sector and to exponentially increase the sector’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product. It is complemented by a time-bound and phase-wise action plan for implementation with a five-year review clause. The goal is to turn the leather industry into a sustainable, environmentally friendly and competitive sector. The policy has been crafted to attract foreign investment. In this regard, Bangladesh’s government will facilitate leather product expos to attract foreign investors. The policy outlines the process of obtaining cash incentives from the government.
Small and Medium Enterprise Policy
Bangladesh formulated its Small Medium Enterprise (SME) Policy in 2019. This identifies SMEs as a core driver of the economy. The 7.8 million mapped SMEs across the country contribute 25% of gross domestic product. The main target is to formalise them by linking them with finance, technology and markets. The strategic objectives include introducing a guarantee fund, providing soft condition loans to SMEs, assisting start-ups, providing training, providing facilities for women entrepreneurs, preparing a data server for SMEs and promoting environmentally friendly SME industries.
Innovation and Intellectual Property Policy
Bangladesh formulated its Innovation and Intellectual Property Policy in 2018. This is a framework for the awareness, promotion and protection of innovation and creativity. It also considers the development of inclusive and balanced intellectual property infrastructure. The target is to integrate intellectual property into the government’s development strategies. Another aim is to standardise Bangladesh’s intellectual property regime with the international intellectual property system. The regime will ease intellectual property issues such as patent design, trademarking, copyright and geographical indication to foster creativity.
Ministry of Industries
Bangladesh’s Ministry of Industries is the main government body overseeing industrial policies. After Bangladesh became independent, in 1972, its predecessor, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, was created. Later, the ministry was divided into three specialised ministries – the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Industries and the Ministry of Textile and Jute. The Ministry of Industries has different functional wings: coordination, autonomous bodies, audit, privatisation laws, international cooperation and R&D. It is in charge of (re)formulating industrial policies, renovating state-owned enterprises, developing small industries and protecting intellectual property rights in the country.
Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution
Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution is Bangladesh’s apex standard and quality control agency. It operates as an autonomous organisation under Bangladesh’s Ministry of Industries. Its mission is to expand trade and protect the interest of consumers. It formulates and implements standards for products and services.
Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Center
Bangladesh Industrial Technical Assistance Center a publicly owned hub for delivering technical assistance to the industrial sector of the country. Its mission is to enhance technical skills through training to assist the industrial sector, innovate technology, develop research streams and facilitate import alternatives. It has five centres in selected economic hotspots across Bangladesh.
Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks
Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks is Bangladesh’s designated patent granting agency. Its main operations are to grant patents to innovative initiatives, to design rights and to register trademarks and geographical indicators to protect intellectual property rights.
National Productivity Organization
Bangladesh’s National Productivity Organization is a specialised agency for the industrial productivity-focused workstream. It is housed in the country’s Ministry of Industries. It works to develop productivity-oriented policies, research, awareness, skilling, infrastructure and improvement programmes. The overarching aim is to boost productivity to accelerate economic growth. This is Bangladesh’s contact agency for the Tokyo-based intergovernmental body the Asian Productivity Organization.
Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation
The Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Foundation is a government-established non-profit for SME development in Bangladesh. It is licensed by Bangladesh’s Ministry of Commerce. It implements SME policy strategies adopted by the government. It also has an advocacy arm. It facilitates financial support for SMEs and provides skills development and capacity development training. At the core of its mission is poverty eradication.
Small, Micro and Cottage Industry Foundation
Small, Micro and Cottage Industries Foundation is a Bangladesh government-owned organisation that has the mission of alleviating poverty through spurring on very small-scale industries. Its additional mandates are to facilitate women’s entrepreneurship, youth-centric self-employment and rural industries.
Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation
Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) is a state-owned corporation established in 1976. It is now managing 13 large and medium-size industrial enterprises engaged in producing a wide range of products, such as urea, TSP, DAP, paper, cement, glass sheets, hardboard, sanitaryware, insulators and so on. BCIC is one of the largest conglomerates of the country owned by the government. It is in charge of overseeing, coordinating and controlling the enterprises under its management, as well as developing new industries in the chemical and related industries.
Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation
Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation is a publicly owned company focused on food and sugarcane processing schemes in Bangladesh. It has a multifaceted social mandate of industry-specific enterprise development, efficiency gains, human resource skilling and affordable pricing. The strategy it adopts is to enhance the country’s food security by reducing import dependency.
Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation
Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation is a publicly owned company focused on producing electrical and communications-related materials in Bangladesh. The production lines are designed to align with the country’s development trajectory. For example, the corporation produces electric cables, transformers, tube light and copper wires, which have been vital in Bangladesh’s electrification journey. It also contributes to the road transport sector through bus, truck, SUV and motorcycle assembly lines.
Photo ©️ Mahmud Hossain Opu