Bangladesh seeks to improve services sector with UNCTAD help

10 December 2014

​Government officials, stakeholders and UNCTAD experts met to assess the findings of the Services Policy Review of Bangladesh in Dhaka on 25-26 November 2014.

The Second Stakeholder Workshop on the Service Policy Review of Bangladesh was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, at the end of November. Participants at the meeting agreed on a set of recommendations to be adopted by stakeholders and submitted to the government for action.

Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, opened the workshop, which was attended by government officials, stakeholders from the private sector and civil society, and UNCTAD experts.

The Service Policy Review examined the policy, regulatory and institutional weaknesses of three key services sectors in Bangladesh- information and communication technology (ICT) services, tourism, and manpower services, as well as the issue of trade liberalization and negotiations - and made recommendations to redress the deficiencies in these areas.

Bangladesh has national strategies and goals that acknowledge the critical importance of key services sectors to achieve development objectives and to improve competitiveness. The country faces the major constraints such as weak infrastructure and domestic capacity.

Stakeholders attending the Dhaka workshop examined the Service Policy Review's findings and policy recommendations, including:

  • Undertaking a study of the impact of intensifying competition with other developing countries on Bangladesh's export of manpower

  • Exploring the possibility of pursuing Bangladesh's export of manpower through bilateral agreements

  • Coordinating more effectively between the several government bodies involved in Bangladesh's export of manpower

  • Reducing the cost of migration for Bangladeshi migrant workers with government intervention

  • Identifying new areas for Bangladesh's export of manpower, e.g., seasonal agriculture workers, and regulating migration in such markets

  • Support from all relevant government entities, in addition to the Tourism Board, of the current effort to brand the country "Beautiful Bangladesh" to promote international tourism

  • Promoting the tourism sector with favourable financial measures such as low-interest credit and tax incentives

  • Exploring "niche" tourism markets

  • Establishing a Corporate Social Responsibility Fund for training purpose in the tourism sector

  • Enforcing on-line security in order to promote ICT services and establishing an overall agency for monitoring security

  • Enforcing existing government measures to help finance small-and-medium sized ICT companies

A comprehensive report on the workshop will be included in the publication of the Bangladesh Service Policy Review.

The objective of such policy reviews is to identify ways to promote the development of the services sector, with the view to maximize the contribution of this sector to economic welfare and development. Their outcomes can include recommendations to improve coherence among services-related policies and to strengthen institutions and regulations related to services activities. UNCTAD has undertaken ten Service Policy Reviews since 2010.