Urging initiatives to cope with globalization
Md Joynal Abdin
The Daily Star on September 14, 2009
THOUGH the global financial crisis affects the march of globalisation, economists are confident that the world will recover and globalisation will regain its momentum. Globalisation holds opportunities and threats. It offers opportunities for the fittest and threatens the inefficient. It creates new products, provides newer employment opportunities and opens up new markets for the investors. It increases competition and technological development and emphasises innovative research. We must be prepared to avail the opportunities that globalisation offers us.
Demand-driven education: We are an overpopulated nation, which may be a boon for us because the demand for skilled labour and professionals is increasing. We may take this opportunity to capitalise on our human resources and export them. Educating our people is the only alternative. The curriculum for such education should be directly related to the job market.
One may agree that skilled professionals will earn more foreign remittance for us than semi or un-skilled labour. For example, India exports law practitioners, doctors and IT professionals to the western world. They are earning much higher salaries than Bangladeshi workers overseas. Thus, by exporting educated people we may increase our earning-person ratio.
Intellectual properties: The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are remembered for the industrial revolution, while the twentieth century has been the century of scientific innovation and information and communication technology (ICT). The twenty-first century will be the century of Intellectual Property (IP). The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is working hard to ensure intellectual property right (IPR) around the world.
World IP Day is observed on April 26 in almost every UN member country. The US government is signing trade and investment framework agreements (TIFA) with countries with a compulsory clause on enforcement of IPR by the governments concerned. It is clear that the scenario will change after 2020, following the enforcement of IPR act globally. The time has come to give attention to increasing our intellectual property (IP) to get benefit after IPR is enforced. There are no alternatives to innovation to get IPR.
Ensuring global presence for our enterprises: The British East India Company is the brightest example of how a country can be branded with the global presence of its enterprises. This example may have some negative aspects but, today, Nestlé, Unilever, Coca Cola, Bata etc., are examples of global brands. They are ensuring positive country image and branding their origin. So, to cope with globalisation, we must ensure global presence of our local enterprises. But we need to revise the laws concerned to facilitate our companies so that they can establish their operation abroad. Thus, branding Bangladesh initiative may become a success.
Export diversification: Our diplomatic missions abroad should be more active in promoting our products so that we can have more market access and get more earnings. The government can establish Bangladesh Trade Centres in countries having Bangladesh mission to facilitate the sale and exhibition of our products. The centres will act as permanent exhibition and sales centres for all Bangladeshi products. Thus, we can increase our foreign currency reserve as well as productivity.
Ensuring strong currency: We always think about our exporters and depreciate local currency frequently. But, today, import of raw materials and machinery is also significant for our long-term economic benefits. So we must take initiatives to make our currency stronger against dollar to ensure adequate import of machinery and raw materials. A strong currency will increase our image abroad, which will help brand Bangladesh.
Ensuring global standard technical education: Many countries that have developed rapidly as economic powers have also advanced in science and technology. In Bangladesh, the University Grants Commission (UGC) does not allow foreign universities to operate their branches in Bangladesh.
This policy allows our private universities to run a monopoly business, but they do not have sufficient funding capability and the technical know-how to create an educated generation with practical knowledge. If reputed foreign universities were allowed to open branches to encourage fair competition between our private universities and foreign universities, it could ensure rapid technology transfer in future.
Equity fund for intellectuals: It is possible that people having intellectual power may not have enough money to invest. The government may ensure availability of equity fund (EF) for the intellectual entrepreneurs.
Ensuring utility supply: The government has to ensure regular supply of electricity, gas and water to the factories.
One-stop service: Once getting a passport was a long process, but after the one-stop service was introduced people are happy. The government is also getting more revenue than earlier. At present, it is quite a difficult for a businessman to get the required certificates. For example, trade licence is issued by the City Corporation, export import licence is issued by the office of the Controller of Export and Import, patent, design and trade mark registrations are done by the Registrars’ office of patent design and trade mark registration under the ministry of industry, copyright office is under the ministry of cultural affairs and environment clearance certificate is issues by the ministry of environment, tax identification number (TIN) & value added tax (VAT) are registered by the National Board of Revenue.
For getting all these certificates a businessman has to wait for a long time. In the meantime, he may lose interest or get a better opportunity to invest. Not only that, our bureaucracy places barriers at each stage of the process. But to cope with rapid globalisation, all the certification process should be under a single roof and in an automated mode.
All these offices may be controlled by the different ministries and agencies, but there should be one single building — a National Business Solution Centre (NBSC) — where every certification will be available in reasonable time.
Quick implementation of these demands can give a spur to the economy and prepare us to succeed in the race of globalisation. We have to tackle these issues immediately for the betterment of the country and for a better future of our next generation. We must fulfil our commitment to our children, so that they will be able to live with dignity and status.