In 2030, it is predicted that over $14 billion will be leaving the country through unofficial channels
Illicit financial outflows could dent Bangladesh's ability to implement the sustainable development goals (SDGs), according to a report.
It said over $9.6 billion had gone out of Bangladesh in 2013.
Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh made this disclosure in its report titled "Four years of SDGs in Bangladesh: Measuring progress and charting the path forward." It was launched in Dhaka today.
"If illicit outflows from Bangladesh continue as usual, then in 2030, it is predicted that over $14 billion will be leaving the country through unofficial channels," the report said.
These trends will significantly hamper Bangladesh's capability to implement the SDGs by 2030.
The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised the event in association with The Asia Foundation, Bangladesh, Citizen's Platform for SDGs and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Another report on the non-state actors as delivery partners in implementing SDGs was also released at the event.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of CPD and convener of the Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh chaired the programme attended by policymakers and experts.
Lawmaker Abul Kalam Azad, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Planning, attended as the chief guest.
The report came up with the findings after analysing six goals – quality education (Goal 4), decent work and economic growth (Goal 8), inequality (Goal 10), climate action (Goal 13), peace and justice (Goal 16) and partnership (Goal 17).
Of these six goals, Bangladesh has had some progress on education, partnership and decent work and economic growth, and the country may achieve the targets within time.
If the trend of financial outflow continues, Bangladesh may not be able to attain the rest three goals, according to the report.
Prof Rehman Sobhan, chairman of CPD, said the whole exercise to achieve SDGs should be supervised by the people's representatives in parliament.
"I would suggest the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee [on Minstry of Planning], there should be a full session in parliament on implementation of SDGs and perhaps it may meet twice a year," he suggested.
Prior to this, the parliamentary committee should initiate a series of hearings, involving both government and civil society entities, he added.
The hearing in parliament would demonstrate high level credibility for the state and its commitment to SDGs, he said.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said Bangladesh lags behind in targets of climate change action, peace and justice, and reducing inequality.
He said any country suffering fragility in the areas of rule of law, inequality and climate action will never be able to sustain development. He recommended taking proper measures in this regard in the upcoming eighth five-year plan.
Dr Fahmida Khatun, executive director of CPD, said lack of data is a major obstacle to measuring the achievement of SDGs.
She said among the 50 indicators which have data for review, Bangladesh is doing very well in only six indicators. The country could achieve the target within 2030 by giving more efforts in 18 indicators.
But it may be very difficult to achieve the targets in the remaining 26 indicators.
Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), said state and non-state actors have to work together to achieve SDGs, and the government should engage and recognise the role of non-state actors, such as the private sector and NGOs.
Professor Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of CPD, said that state actors alone are not capable of achieving the SDGs. The government should include private sector, NGOs, INGOs, civil society, media, politicians and public representatives in the process of achieving SDGs.
But none of the government documents recognises the role of non-state actors, he remarked.
He also said efforts jointly made by the public and private sectors could generate additional value.
Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator and Representative of UNDP in Bangladesh, also spoke on the occasion.