The time is soon coming for us to take crucial economic decisions as a nation. We are on track for national elections by the end of the year, and the nation's hope is that the new year will usher in a democratically elected government and the end of the state of emergency.
It will be not a moment too soon. Opinions will differ as to whether the two year non-democratic interregnum has ended up making things even worse than they were before 1/11 or whether the period will result in sustainable and measurable improvements in governance to recommend it to the historians, but few will contest that two years is the very outer limit this country can function without an elected government.
The reason for this is that the time is past due for the nation to make some difficult but necessary choices, and such is the importance of these decisions that only an elected government, enjoying the mandate of the people, can take with any sense of confidence and legitimacy.
The Bangladeshi economy needs to be re-tooled for the 21st century. This means investments in infrastructure, education, and technology, in addition to the massive overhaul of the bureaucracy and regulatory apparatus that has already been conceived.
This means decisions on power and exploitation of energy resources. This means decisions on trade and our relationship to the rest of the world. This means re-developing agricultural and industrial policy to ensure that we can keep pace with an ever-changing competitive environment.
This means, above all, the need for new ideas, fresh thinking, and bold decisions. For too long this country has muddled through with its archaic rules and regulations, often dating back to British times, and out-dated and ineffective understanding of economic imperatives and how Bangladesh can best prosper in the global economy.
We need to be bold in our vision, unafraid to do things differently, to solve problems creatively, and to venture in new directions. It is not just a question of new people at the helm of power, what is more important, has always been more important, is for new solutions. The time has come for Bangladesh to step into the 21st century and take its rightful place at the table of fast-growing and dynamic young countries.