Bangladesh has a wide variety of natural and agricultural resources. There are considerably large amounts of coal and gas, hard rock, lime stone and silicone sand in the country and these are important raw materials for many industries. Bangladesh's main industries are cotton, textiles, jute, garments, tea processing, paper newsprint, cement, chemical fertilizers, sugar and light engineering.
Bangladesh’s economy depends on the import of both consumer items and industrial raw materials. Bangladesh’s major import products are raw cotton, crude petroleum, wheat, oil, seeds, edible oil, petroleum products, fertilizer, yarn, capital goods, staple fibers, iron and steel.
The main export items of Bangladesh are tea, leather and leather products, garments, seafood, paper, furnace oil, urea, ceramic products, raw jute and jute products such as Hessian sacking, carpets and carpet backing.
Jute has traditionally been the biggest cash crop of Bangladesh and has been used for making rope, sacks and carpet backing for decades. The industry unfortunately went into in a decline with the advent and rampant use of synthetic substitutes. Jute is a natural fiber obtained as an extract from the bark of the jute plant, which reaches its full growth within three months of planting.
Now with the increased awareness of the harm done by plastic bags and ropes to the environment, the time is ripe to push the diverse potential uses of jute in industrial and domestic use. It may seem to be cheaper to use synthetic substitutes but the long term price paid is very heavy.
A newer and nontraditional use of jute has been in geotextiles. This is an engineering product that strengthens the soil on or in which it is placed. It is being increasingly used to protect eroding riverbanks, strengthen poorly built roads and to take care of dangerous slopes. It can stabilize embankments and control soil erosion.
Jute is already being used to make shoe uppers, lampshades, suitcases, paperweights, helmets, shower and bath units. Panels, false ceilings and partitions are already in the market. Jute composites are used for covers of electrical appliances, pipes, post-boxes, roof tiles and grain storage silos.
Bangladesh’s main investment sectors are, service, textiles, chemicals, food and food related industries, glass and ceramics and energy based projects.
Bangladesh's economy has certainly seen vast improvements in the years following independence in 1971. Agriculture is one of the main sectors in the country's economy and production has been increasing. The government as also made efforts to create an 'investor-friendly' environment so as to attract foreign trade.
Sadly natural disasters have had a negative impact on Bangladesh’s economy. Despite this the country is showing greater self-reliance as foreign aid has declined. There has also been great growth in Bangladesh’s exports. All-in-all, Bangladesh’s economic situation looks set to continue improving.
What is fueling Bangladesh’s economy? The garment industry is massive – one of the most impressive in the world. This industry has been able to create extensive numbers of jobs for the population and particularly for women. Large numbers of garments and knitwear are exported to the United States and Europe. Bangladesh is also the world’s third biggest rice producer. Much of the country’s agricultural land is set aside for the cultivation of rice and jute as well as some wheat. This agricultural economy is, however, very dependent on the monsoonal cycle where the country experiences cyclic flooding and drought. Other exports in the country include leather, ceramics, pharmaceuticals and shrimp.
Encouraging foreign investment in Bangladesh has had significant success – particularly in the power generation, gas production, harmaceutical, textile and cellular telephony sectors. A Board of Investment was created in 1989. Its role was to make approval and start-up easier for foreign investors in Bangladesh. Far more foreign investment still needs to be made in Bangladesh if the country’s economy is to see even greater improvements.
With increased foreign investment and efforts to reduce poverty Bangladesh’s economy will go from strength to strength.
Exports of Bangladesh, Trade & Business
Like many other third-world countries, Bangladesh relies quite heavily on exports to provide for the needs of its densely populated nation. The same products sold locally will generally fetch a much lower price than they would on the international market. This means that it is far more profitable for the country to engage in exportation than it is to engage in local trade. While this may mean that a large percentage of the countries GDP is sent off abroad as Bangladesh exports instead of being enjoyed by the country’s own people, it also allows for a steady influx of foreign currency.
Besides these Bangladesh exports, the country is also engaged in the production of rice, tea, sugar wheat, ship scrap metal, textiles, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, ceramic tableware and newsprint. Though yields can at times be quite high, the country still faces widespread poverty and it is struggling to free itself from this. Some progress has been made, but there are still many people living below the breadline in Bangladesh.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021