Bangladesh should focus on upskilling the existing labour force to face the challenges of the 4th industrial revolution and challenges will be brought about by graduation from the least developed country (LDC) status, said experts.
They were speaking at a panel discussion titled “On the Economy of Tomorrow”, organized by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, a German foundation, in the capital.
Sayema Haque Bidisha, a professor of economics at the University of Dhaka said the private sector has a major role to reskill and upskill existing workers who are middle-aged people.
She also said that the government should provide incentives and policy support to the private sector so that they can be motivated to take steps in adopting labour-friendly programmes.
She mentioned of other challenges like that from the pandemic, getting real wages and those related to macroeconomic issues such as the increase in inflationary pressure on people citing that the labour market is very crucial for Bangladesh.
Mofizur Rahman, managing director of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Foundation, said that many benefits will be disappeared after graduation from the LDC status which may curtail the prosperity of the SMEs in the global competitiveness.
He also said that if the SMEs particularly can’t compete in the global market, they might have to be shut down or phased out of the market.
The SME sector is still suffering from a lack of skilled workers, technological advances, and particularly a lack of export experiences, he added.
He also sought financial support for the SMEs and asked to change the mentality of commercial banks of shying away from lending to SME entrepreneurs.
Professor Mustafizur Rahman, a distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), moderated the event and said that the government was providing a lot of incentives through the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation.
But the sector doesn’t improve much which is so essential in employment generation for our economy to grow fast and remain competitive in the global market.