Social prejudices, mindset and sustainability problems remain key factors behind 'image deficit' of Bangladesh in its development process, speakers at a panel discussion said Monday as government leaders projected successes before the World Bank hierarchy.
The speakers, in their wrapping-up speeches at the End Poverty Day function, also pointed out child marriage and challenges of infrastructure and creating opportunities on the flip side.
A panel of speakers, comprising ministers, parliament speaker, representatives of NGOs-manufacturing sectors and World Bank economists, made the observations at a panel discussion on latest Bangladesh situation at the city's Osmani Memorial Auditorium.
World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim and his team along with government and civil high-ups were present at the discussion meeting.
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the panel discussion disclosed Bangladesh's first-ever quarterly-based data on poverty which stood at 23.2 per cent in April-June 2016.
The quarterly data also show extreme poverty in the country having dropped to 12.9 per cent as of the same period.
The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) said these data cannot be compared with the previous annual data as it will be compared after getting annual average of the same that will be available in April in 2017.
Speaking as a panel discussant Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Bangladesh is flexible in its policies on coping with the changes.
"The absence of rigidity is the strength of Bangladesh's economy," Mr Muhith told the meet.
He said the country switches to another policy whenever it needs.
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the government has always been caring for private investment. "They are prime mover of our economy," Mr Kamal told the function.
He said credit to the private sector in the past six months was conducive to the country's economic growth.
Mr Kamal noted that Bangladesh's development is not debt-ridden and the country is pursuing conservative policy to cope with the changes on the economic front inside or outside.
"Bangladesh is resilient to cope with all crises which even failed by many advanced economies," the planning minister said.
He said the government wants to create job in the rural areas to offer jobs at the doorsteps.
For this reason, he added, the country has planned to set up 100 economic zones across the country.
"Bangladesh will be rural Bangladesh," the planning minister said about government's policy paradigm for development.
Speaking at the discussion, Speaker of the National Parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said Bangladesh has comprehensive policy for women's social, economic and political empowerment. Social safety-net programmes are focusing ultra-poor women with 30-kg rice a month for the pregnant.
"We are giving gender priority as they are 50 per cent of total population and without them Bangladesh cannot advance," she said.
Ms Sharmin said Bangladesh has many elected representatives in rural areas besides the reserve seats for them.
She said member of female police force are now with the UN peace mission.
The speaker also said women can borrow without collateral.
Rubana Huq, CEO at Mohammadi Group, said infrastructure is a challenge for the country and also pointed out the rise in cost of production and low productivity.
Farah Kabir, country director of Action Aid-Bangladesh, said women's work is yet to be fully recognised in the country. She stressed political commitment in this regard.