The finance minister dismisses World Bank report that predicts Bangladesh’s GDP growth to be 1.6% in the 2020-21 fiscal year
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Wednesday reiterated that the economy of Bangladesh was in good shape as it was getting increasingly dynamic and stronger day by day, and there was no mismatch or distortion in the economy.
“We are immune, our debt-to-GDP ratio is lower, and we never fail in debt servicing. Our fiscal and monetary policy is aligned to the national budget and the five-year plan. There is no distortion or mismatch. So I think we are in good shape. We are fully aware about the demands of our people, and we are working for their satisfaction,” he said.
The finance minister made the remark against the backdrop of the World Bank forecast that Bangladesh’s GDP growth would be 1.6% in the 2020-21 fiscal year while the government set it at 7.4% in the national budget.
Criticizing the report, he said the World Bank was not consistent in its prediction about the economy of Bangladesh, reports UNB.
“Sometimes they make a prediction and then frequently shift their position,” he told reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase on Wednesday.
The World Bank, in its report “Global Economic Prospects” for January 2021, says that development was expected to have decelerated to 2% in the 2019-20 fiscal year in Bangladesh, as the pandemic suppressed both domestic activity and caused a double-digit contraction in exports.
However, Bangladesh reported 5.4% growth in that fiscal year.
The report also mentioned that export growth was forecast to remain weak in Bangladesh, especially in the ready-made garment sector.
Bangladesh's economy was projected to grow by 3.4% in the next fiscal year in the report. On the other hand, the government set a target of achieving 7.70% growth in the fiscal year in its 8th 5-year plan.
The multilateral donor agency also estimated that production in the South Asian region dropped by an estimated 6.7% due to national lockdowns imposed on account of the pandemic, especially in Bangladesh and India.
The finance minister said that, compared to other neighbouring countries, Bangladesh was doing well and would continue to do well as the premier has been planning things in a pragmatic way so that they became conducive to the welfare of the people of the country, reports BSS.
He added: “As a member of her [Sheikh Hasina] team, we are doing our work with the available resources.”
Ruling out the possibility of a major deficit in macroeconomic indicators, Kamal said there would not be any such deficit, adding that customs duty had come down due to a downtrend in imports.
“All the sectors are performing well, except imports. Imports have decreased, resulting in a downturn in revenue collection,” he said.
The finance minister said the government would review the situation and take some measures to improve revenue collection.