THIS full-page advertisement by the Bangladesh Industrial Development Authority appears often in China’s English language national newspapers. The industrial, finance, tax, and governance policy offered by BIDA listed in the ad is exactly what the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority has been offering in Malaysia for the past 40 years.
Both MIDA and BIDA are trusted by industrialists and investors the world over as they now have 40 and 15 years, respectively, of a track record of trust. That is precisely why Malaysian exports are $300 billion per year and Bangladesh exports are $44 billion per year.
Pakistan’s exports are only $22 billion per year. In the past 40 years, Pakistan has been ruled 20 years directly by military dictators — General Zia for 11 years and General Musharraf for nine years, and in the rest of the 20 years nearly every minister of finance, foreign affairs and defence and interior was appointed by the army. Even in this PTI government, most ministers are the same as they were during Zia or Musharraf’s regimes. But in the past 40 years, not one policy like that of BIDA or MIDA has been implemented by any government in Pakistan, be it civilian or military.
The rest is history. Bangladesh’s per capita exports are nearly 2.5 times higher than Pakistan’s per capita exports. In the area of health indicators, Bangladesh’s infant and maternal mortality is half that of the mortality rates of Pakistan. This means that twice as many children die in Pakistan within six months of child birth than in Bangladesh.
Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2019