BEA measures economic loss from Bangabandhu killing

DHAKA, Aug 18, 2018 (BSS) – Had Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman been alive and his development philosophy implemented, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) size would have reached US$ 42,158 crore before 2011 with a growth rate of 9 percent or above, according to a study of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA).

BEA predicts that the per capita income too would have stood at US$ 6,061 by this time.

The study says although Bangladesh has made a marked progress in socioeconomic indexes, the country could not attain the expected progress in many sectors in absence of Bangabandhu since the country’s GDP size was only $8,855 crore in 2011.

According to BEA, the economy suffered setback seriously especially during the two autocratic regimes and also during the tenure of BNP-Jamaat led government. The economy started picking up again when Awami League returned to power under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2009.

Talking to BSS, principal investigator of the study and BEA President Abul Barkat said the study compared between ‘Bangladesh’s economy with Bangabandhu’ and ‘Bangladesh’s economy without Bangabandhu’. The research considered the changes took place in the country’s economic sector along with what happened in social class divisions and what could have happened, he said.

Barkat said Bangabandhu’s public welfare-oriented development philosophy was wiped out through his assassination. “As a result, we incurred a loss of a total of US$ 33,303 crore GDP in Bangladesh without Bangabandhu compared to Bangladesh with Bangabandhu,” he said.

“We also could not attain the target of achieving expected per capita income as it was only US$ 1,200 in 2011,” the economist said.

He said if Bangabandhu was alive and his development philosophy was implemented, radical changes would have taken place in the socio-economic structures where none lagged behind.

“We would have got a participative developed country as the target of Bangabandhu’s philosophy was to ensure development by reducing inequity,” Barkat said.

Comparing Bangladesh’s economy with Malaysia’s in 1973, he said although the economic condition of the both countries was same at that time, Malaysia has achieved a remarkable progress (by this time).

Malaysia, led by Mahathir Bin Mohamad, had applied the politics of nationalism while it was ruined in Bangladesh after Bangabandhu’s assassination, Barkat said.

“We would have overcome developed Malaysia in all socioeconomic indexes by reducing social discrimination,” the economist claimed.

Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said: “We fought against oppression. With this spirit, the country achieved ultimate victory in the War of Liberation. All people irrespective of the rich or the poor joined the war”.

“So, the benefits of the Liberation War should be available to all,” he said, adding, “That’s why Bangabandhu repeatedly said that none would be excluded in the development process. All should be included.”

But the direction of Bangabandhu had stumbled as many programmes designed for the poor people remained unimplemented, the PKSF chairman said, adding that more progress would have taken place if Bangabandhu was alive.

Kholiquzzaman, also former BEA president, said Bangabandhu always talked about unprivileged people, saying they must come forward.

“The Father of the Nation was also vocal against corrupt people,” he added.

Bangabandhu, the great hero of the Liberation War, had started an economic programme under Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BaKSAL), Kholiquzzaman said, adding: “He called for agriculture-based cooperatives movement that was a great progressive economic initiative”.

That time, it was possible to implement that land owners, farmers and the government would take their respective shares of the crops they produced, he said. “If Bangabandhu could implement the policy, economy of the present Bangladesh would have advanced more on the way of balanced development.

Kholiquzzaman said, “The pace of the country’s advancement was halted by the assassination of Bangabandhu.”

The main theme of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), declared by the United Nations, is that none would leg behind, he said. “It is included in the spirit of the 1971 Liberation War. All people should be included in the country’s development process.”

Those were reflected in Bangabandhu’s thoughts, public lectures and political programmes, the PKSF chairman said.