Economy of Bangladesh

According to cheeroutdoor, Bangladesh belongs to the category of the most backward countries (according to the UN classification) and occupies the 1st place among them in terms of population. GDP $54.8 billion (2002 est.) and per capita income $411. Taking into account the purchasing power parity of currencies, GDP is 228 billion dollars, and per capita income is 1,701 dollars. The country’s share in the world economy is 0.2% in accordance with the first system of calculations and 0.5% – with the second.

In recent years, the economy has developed at a high and stable pace. During 1990-2000, GDP growth averaged 4.8% per year, in 2001 it reached 5.2%, and in 2002 – 4.5%. At the same time, the labor force grew at a high rate – 2.6% per year, 3.5 million people. This circumstance contributes to an increase in unemployment, both open, in cities and among the educated population, and hidden (underemployment or imaginary), mainly in villages, where 4/5 of the population lives, as well as on the outskirts of large cities. Unemployment in general, according to some estimates, is equal to 35% of the labor force. Inflation rates in 1990-2000 were low (4.1%), and over the next two years they decreased to 1.6 and 2.4%.

The economy remains agro-industrial with a growing share of the tertiary sector. Agriculture accounts for 26% of GDP, the industrial sector 25%, and the service sector 49%. The main part of the labor force is employed in the agricultural sector – 54% of men and 78% of women, the industrial sector accounts for 11 and 8%, respectively, in the tertiary sector – 34 and 11%. Women make up 42% of the workforce.

The largest branch of the manufacturing industry is textile, for the production of cotton yarn and fabric. The industry (more than 100 large factories) operates mainly on imported raw materials, some of the fabrics are exported, the rest is consumed domestically and used for the production of clothing. Excess factory yarn is consumed by the unorganized sector of industry, where St. 1 million weavers.

The most dynamic since con. 1980s a sub-sector for the manufacture of finished textiles, clothing and knitwear is developing. The exploitation of cheap labor makes production highly profitable. In Dhaka and a number of other centers, approx. 3,300 registered and unregistered businesses employing approximately 1.5 million people, mostly young women and children. Production is focused exclusively on export, bringing approx. ¾ proceeds from merchandise exports. The volume of foreign exchange earnings largely depends on the quotas allocated to the poorest countries by developed countries, primarily the United States.

The jute industry is specific to the country; it is based on the local production of raw jute, reaching 1 million tons per year. Bangladesh is the largest producer of jute and jute products, sharing a monopoly on the supply of the latter to the world market with India. 86 large factories of the industry work mainly for export. The export of jute yarn exceeds 80 thousand tons and gives St. 70% yarn to the world market. Jute products are primarily used for packing and transporting goods. Jute thread is used as a carpet base and is used to make carpets. In recent years, jute has been used as a raw material in the paper industry. In general, there is a decrease in demand for jute products, which is associated with the spread of artificial plastic materials.

The food and flavor industry is of significant importance, based on export-oriented tea factories, as well as sugar and butter factories. Tea production reaches 54 thousand tons per year. The production of refined sugar at 15 plants, which are mainly owned by the state, fluctuates depending on the harvest of sugar cane in the range of 123-170 thousand tons per year, while the country’s needs are 400 thousand tons. Oil requirements are also mainly met by imports.

The chemical industry has become the leading branch of the manufacturing industry, mainly for the production of fertilizers (2.3 million tons of urea per year).

Of the other branches, metallurgy and mechanical engineering have received some development. There is a small steel plant built with the assistance of Japan, as well as enterprises for the manufacture of electrical and telephone equipment, ship repair docks, a plant for the production of marine diesel engines, etc. The role of the paper industry is noticeable – there are a large plant for the production of writing paper and a newsprint factory. The importance of the cement industry and other enterprises in the construction industry is growing. There is an oil refinery with a capacity of 1.5 million tons (in Chittagong) and a number of smaller enterprises for the production of fuel and lubricants.

The energy and mining industries are underdeveloped. Electricity production was only 13.5 billion kWh in 2000, while consumption was 12.6 billion. The primary sources are oil, oil products, natural gas (92%) and hydro resources (8%). There are several thermal power plants, the largest of which was built with the assistance of the USSR in Gorasal, as well as a hydroelectric power station on the Karnaphuli River.

The basis of agriculture is rice growing. Increased irrigation water and the use of high-yielding seed varieties ensured a steady rise in rice yields from 9.9 Mt in 1972/73 to 25.1 Mt in 2000/01. Rice production has grown especially rapidly since 1997/98 (18.9 million tons). Mainly because of this, the country has achieved food self-sufficiency (by volume).

In second place among grains is wheat, but it is about 10 times inferior to rice in terms of production (1.9 million tons). Other cereal crops do not play a significant role. Among the legumes (518 thousand tons), the most common are graham, khesari and mung bean, and among the oilseeds (476 thousand tons) – rapeseed, mustard, and sesame. Over the years of the country’s existence, potato production has tripled (up to 3 million tons). The production of fruits and spices remained stable – more than 300 thousand tons, and the collection of vegetables increased 1.5 times (1.5 million tons).

Bangladesh is one of the ten largest tea producers. Tea plantations are controlled by private capital, including foreign capital, mainly English. The planting area under the tea bush exceeds 50 thousand hectares.

Of the industrial crops, jute and sugar cane are the most important. Jute production over the period of the country’s existence tended to decrease from 1 to 0.8 million tons, although in some years (1985/86) it reached 1.5 million tons..5 million tons. Cotton production remained small – 14-16 thousand tons.

Animal husbandry as a branch of the agrarian economy has not received significant development. The main part of the cattle is used as draft power. Goats are a major source of meat, milk and skins. The breeding of poultry (chickens and ducks) has increased.

An important branch of the economy is fishing. Protein-rich fish is part of the diet of the poorest strata. The annual recorded catch is St. 350 thousand tons, 1/3 falls on marine fish, which is largely exported.

The leading role in transport (up to 3/4 of transportation) is played by waterways with a length of more than 8 thousand km. The length of railways is 2.7 thousand km, of which 1.8 thousand are narrow-gauge railways. More than 200,000 km of roads have been laid on land, but only 19,000 have been paved.

Major seaports are Chittagong and Mongla. The capacity of the first is 15 million tons of cargo, the second is 5 million tons. 95% of export-import cargo transportation is carried out through them. Chittagong misses 80% of merchandise imports and 70% of exports. The bulk of transportation is carried out by foreign companies, the share of national ones is 18%. The total number of merchant ships is 34 with a displacement of 380,000 tons, including two oil tankers, 28 dry cargo ships, and 3 container ships. The State Marine Corporation has 13 large vessels with a displacement of 195 thousand tons and 12 small ones.

The number of airports with a hard runway is 15, while with a runway length of St. 3 km – one, from 2.5 to 3 km – 3, from 1.5 to 2.5 km – 4. The main airport is in Dhaka. The national airline “Biman” carries out international and domestic transportation.

Communications and telecommunications are underdeveloped. The number of main telephone lines is 500,000. International telephone communications are supported by two satellite stations. There are 26 radio stations, mostly medium wave. The number of radio receivers exceeds 6 million, televisions – approx. 1 million, television broadcasting stations – 15 (1999). Internet users – 150 thousand (2002).

Domestic trade is mainly retail, the contribution of trade to GDP is 14%. Along with small retail trade, city and rural bazaars provide a variety of household services. The service sector, which includes trade, is characterized by low labor productivity. An extensive state apparatus provides a significant part of the services and suffers, like the whole sphere, from an overabundance of employees.

Foreign tourism is poorly developed, giving 3.3% of GNP ($1.5 billion, 2001).

Having experienced a period of broad nationalization at the beginning of its existence, the country with con. 1980s embarked on the path of privatization. However, the lack of buyers and the resistance of officials make the process slow and difficult. The current government has begun the privatization of most state-owned enterprises, putting up for sale 88 companies operating in the textile (16), oil (10), jute (10), paper (14), sugar (6) and other industries.

Of the social problems, the government is most worried about rampant crime and corruption. In the fall of 2002, it resorted to the help of the army to combat these phenomena, causing accusations of violations of civil rights and freedoms. The forceful action, however, had a certain effect, without fundamentally solving the problems in the field of law and order.

Created after independence, the central bank (Bank of Bangladesh) regulates the money supply in circulation and the exchange rate. In addition, there is a network of state commercial banks and credit and banking corporations (industrial investment, agricultural bank). The Grameen Bank (Village Bank) is successfully operating, providing preferential loans to family and neighborhood partnerships and cooperatives. Gross national savings are distinguished by a fairly high level – 21-22% of GNP, gross investment – 1-2% higher.

Government spending was $6.8 billion, 13.6% of GNP (2000), with revenues of $4.9 billion and a budget deficit of 3.6% of GNP. The main source of income is indirect taxes. External debt of 17 billion US dollars, the rate of its service (payments to export earnings) – 8% (2002). Foreign official development assistance is significant, $9 per capita (1999).

The average standard of living is extremely low, which is associated with exceptionally low wages, the spread of open and hidden unemployment. Below the national poverty line – 36% of the population (1995/96). The population with an income of less than $ 1 per day was 29%, and below $ 2 – 78% (1996) .

The volume of foreign trade has increased markedly in recent years. Exports in 2002 were $6.1 billion and imports $8.3 billion. Mainly clothes, jute and jute products, leather, frozen fish and seafood, tea were exported. The USA is the main export partner (32%), followed by Germany (11%), Great Britain (8%), France and the Netherlands (5% each). Imported into the country were mainly machinery and equipment, chemicals, iron and steel, textiles, cotton, foodstuffs, oil and oil products, and cement. Main import partners: India (11%), EU and Japan (10% each), Singapore (9%), China (7%). The volume of foreign investment is small. For 1995-2000 direct investments amounted to 696 million US dollars.

Economy of Bangladesh