2.26 million people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic
With Bangladesh registering a growth of 5.4% in fiscal year (FY) 2020-21, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth was $355 billion, $19 billion lower than the target.
The country’s GDP target was $374 billion for FY 2020-21.
Meanwhile, food inflation witnessed a 0.22 percentage point increase in only six months. It was 5.23% in January 2021 and increased to 5.45% in June 2021.
The information came into light during a webinar of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) held on Saturday.
DCCI President Rizwan Rahman presented the keynote paper titled “Current State & Future Outlook of Bangladesh Economy: Private Sector Perspective” during the webinar.
The paper he presented mentioned the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the national economy, as well as LDC graduation, job loss and inflation.
During his speech at the webinar, Rizwan Rahman said that 2.26 million people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. He quoted Bangladesh Bank statistics for this piece of information.
Meanwhile, a World Bank report said that 68% of people working in urban areas lost their jobs.
"The country is likely to lose $4-6 billion worth of exports following the LDC graduation," the DCCI president said.
He said that the removal of cash incentives will also increase costs of the exporters and the absence of trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) waiver will affect the export of pharmaceutical products.
“Low-cost loan and grant facilities will no longer be available and international support measure (ISM) will not exist,” he further said.
The keynote paper that he presented also mentioned that the country’s poverty rate rose by 9% to 29.5% and 30%, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and World Bank.
During his speech, the DCCI president also said that the pandemic created an export opportunity for new products like PPE, gloves, masks etc.
Inflation on the rise
Rizwan Rahman said that general inflation was recorded at 5.64% in June 2021 and the six month's average was 5.37%.
“Food inflation was 5.23% in January 2021, which increased to 5.45% in June 2021,” he said, adding that the price of rice, oil and other essential commodities are rising significantly due to frequent lockdown in Bangladesh.
Quoting the last national budget, Rizwan Rahman also said that the government set an inflation target to 5.3% and products such as rice, flour and oil are sold at a substantially lower price under the OMS programs of the Food Ministry to contain food inflation.
As for DCCI recommendations, he said that market-driven food inflation control needs to continue through strong market vigilance and monitoring fair price mechanisms.
“Agriculture and agro-processing industry need to be supported and remain functional with strong local supply chain system to ensure food security amidst this economic crisis,” he added,
International Crude oil price shows an increasing trend in the second and third quarters of 2021. “Alternative liquid fuel mix can be used to reduce the impact on non-food inflation,” the DCCI president further said.