little investment, British India, Foreign direct investment, GDP, industrial plants
First as part of British India and then of Pakistan, the area now constituting Bangladesh suffered from chronic economic neglect. The region produced large quantities of agricultural goods, including most of the world’s jute, but received little investment in such basic items as transportation facilities and industrial plants. Much of the industrial investment, particularly in jute manufacturing, was made by West Pakistani-owned firms. After Bangladesh gained independence, the government took over most of the assets owned by West Pakistanis. Today most of these firms remain government-owned; a program to privatize them has made little progress.
Bangladesh’s vast reserves of natural gas, many just recently discovered, hold great potential for the country’s future economic development. However, the government’s reluctance to sanction gas exports to India and its reputation for rampant corruption have tended to discourage foreign investment. Foreign direct investment in Bangladesh has been minor relative to most other countries in Asia.
Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $47.1 billion in 2000. Agriculture contributed 25 percent of the GDP, industry (including manufacturing) contributed 24 percent, and services contributed 51 percent. In 1999 Bangladesh’s budget included $5.68 billion in expenditures and $4.15 billion in revenues.
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