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Bangladesh - The Development Dilemma
|by Mark T. Jones|
As governments regardless of their political outlook have a duty to support and nurture economic development. Wealth and job creation are essential to the stability of any society, especially those that have a limited capacity to provide social welfare for the young, the sick, the elderly and those who have fallen on hard times. One of the greatest challenges in the developing countries is that of unemployment, especially youth unemployment, a factor that can be a root cause of delinquency, criminality and general disaffection.
The current political crisis in Bangladesh means that priorities are somewhat skewed and for potential foreign investors there is additional risk. Many potential foreign investors are monitoring things carefully, whilst those that have already committed to the country are keen to protect their interests, especially as there is a real likelihood of a change of government. For locals and those who care about the environment and communal interests there is a real fear that a weak national government, one facing internal difficulties and external scrutiny will buckle to the requests and ‘demands’ of those multinationals who might threaten to up sticks and leave. An interesting case in point is that of GCM Resources Plc, an AIM-listed UK-based multinational company. According to GCM’s company website it
Again an upbeat message that makes no mention of the lowering of the water table that will result and the fact that GCM looks set to take 94% of revenue generated, as well as enjoying an initial 9 year tax holiday. Such is the indignation that some Bangladeshis feel about the degree of sophistry and semantics that they believe has been employed by GCM that a group of concerned individuals supported by the World Development Movement decided to voice their concerns outside CGM’s Annual General Meeting in London on 4th December 2013. Whilst it is indeed often easy to demonise multinational companies, there have in the past been incidents where certain local and foreign players have been at best disingenuous about the true impact of intended activity and as a consequence there is a marked lack of trust. Local stakeholders often feel that their opinions and concerns are ignored and that successive governments have been blinded by the sums of money involved.
Those who know anything about what is happening in Bangladesh at this time can appreciate that whatever the potential benefits or pitfalls of CGM’s plans for Phulbari it would be better to wait until things are politically more stable before any final decision is taken.
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01/14/2014 04:49 AM
12/11/2013 23:27 PM
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