'We expect that the GDP growth rate will exceed the target of 7.8% (and) will increase to 9% in the next five years'
The Bangladesh economy will grow by 8.25% in the current fiscal year, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said on Thursday.
The minister made the bold forecast for gross domestic product (GDP) while addressing a press briefing at the National Economic Council in the Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area of Dhaka.
”We expect that the GDP growth rate will exceed the target of 7.8% (and) will increase to 9% in the next five years,” he said.
AHM Mustafa Kamal cited preliminary estimates of the growth rate for the last fiscal year (2017-18) of 7.65%. “The figure will increase further in the final estimate,” he said.
The minister said he was confident of exceeding the GDP growth target as the government had taken a number of necessary initiatives, including measures to generate employment in nationwide Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
Citing a report by the World Bank, AHM Mustafa Kamal said Bangladesh now has the 31st highest GDP worldwide in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), at $751 billion.
The country is poised to move up to 30th position by 2023, by when the GDP should increase by 50% to $1,159 billion.
The planning minister also said point-to-point inflation had come down to 5.48% in August, from 5.51% in July and 5.54% in June.
“The point to point inflation rate has been in a downward trend since the beginning of the year,” he said.
The rate has declined steadily, from 5.88% in January, 5.72% in February, 5.68% in March, 5.63% in April, and 5.57% in May.
Quoting data from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the planning minister further said that point-to-point inflation in food stood at 5.97% in August, compared to 6.18% in July.
“Inflation fell because there was no mismatch between demand and supply. The government has been very vigilant in this regard,” AHM Mustafa Kamal said.
In his speech on the national budget for 2018-19, Finance Minister AMA Muhith announced the GDP growth target of 7.8%, and said inflation would come down to 5.6% by the end of the year.
Regarding the Delta Plan 2100 recently approved by the National Economic Council (NEC), the planning minister said the government would put its full effort in implementing the plan successfully to tap Bangladesh’s potential.
“With the implementation of the Delta Plan 2100, a revolution will take place in Bangladesh’s agriculture sector, similar to that in the Netherlands,” he said.
Furthermore, the planning minister reiterated the target to eradicate poverty in the country by 2030.