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Thursday, May 24, 2018

BD to officially remain LDC until 2024, says Muhith

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Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Wednesday said Bangladesh will officially remain as a least developed country (LDC) until 2024 in the United Nations list, but it will be regarded as a developing country globally.

He came up with the remark while addressing a press briefing at the Finance Ministry on a five-day programme to celebrate the country’s LDC graduation.

Muhith said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the nationwide celebrations at Bangabandhu National Stadium on Thursday evening. A laser show and cultural programme will also be held on the occasion. The programme will remain open to all.

As per the programmes, the UN certificate conveying the announcement on the country’s graduation from the LCD group to a developing one will be handed over to the Prime Minister at a programme at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre earlier in the day, he said.

On March 23, a seminar will be held at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden. In the evening, a laser show and water display will be held at Hatirjheel Lake.

Responding to a query, Muhith said Bangladesh as a nation loves celebrating an occasion. “That’s why we’ll celebrate the LDC graduation although we’ve to wait until 2024 for the final graduation from the LDC group to a developing country,” he said.

About the challenges during the six-year graduation period, he said, “The main challenges will be to change our outlook and reduce concessional loans from donor countries.”

“We’ll have to leave some of the resources for the other least developed countries while face more competitions in the global trade market,” the Finance Minister said, adding that the rate of interest will be higher in receiving loans from the donor agencies.

He, however, said the country has already taken preparations to face those challenges. “And we’ve already started availing ourselves of costly fund from the donor agencies.”

Muhith said the main benefit of the country’s graduation will be the treatment of the international community towards Bangladesh.

State Minister for Finance and Planning Abdul Manna, Additional Secretary to the Economic Relations Division Monwar Hossain also spoke at the press conference.

Bangladesh has recently officially received the confirmation letter from UN's Committee for Development Policy (CDP) about attaining the three graduation criteria to consider for graduation from the group of least developed countries to a developing one.

According to the UN's graduation thresholds set at the triennial review in 2015, gross national income (GNI) per capita of a country has to be $1,242 or above. Bangladesh's GNI per capita rose to $1,610 at the end of fiscal year 2016-17.

The GNI per capita is the value of a country's final income in a year divided by its population. It reflects the average income of a country's citizens.

On the other two indexes -- human assets and economic vulnerability -- a country has to score 66 or above and 32 or below respectively.

Bangladesh's score in the human assets index stood at 72.9 and the economic vulnerability index is 24.8, meaning the country meets all the criteria.

Once graduated, Bangladesh will not be eligible for support measures given to LDCs accorded by multilateral institutions such as the WTO.

Special and differential treatment for the LDC members will no longer be available to Bangladesh (in the form of market access, technical assistance, waivers from obligations, protracted implementation period in view of implementing obligations and commitments).

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