The per capita income is expected to reach at US$1,024 this year as Bangladesh is heading for becoming a middle income nation, Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman said Sunday.
He said the country would become a middle income country by 2019, two years ahead of its earlier forecast.
The central bank governor was talking to journalists after launching a “SME Help Desk Guideline’ of Trust Bank at Bangladesh Bank headquarters in Dhaka.
“We’re making quality growth and the increasing trend will make Bangladesh as a middle income country by the year 2019,” he said, adding that the country’s economic growth is better than the neighbouring countries, including India and Pakistan.
Atiur said the GDP growth remains over 6% in last 10 years, despite the global recession for last few years. “So, we should highlight the successes instead of frustrating scenario.”
Bangladesh aspires to be a middle-income country by 2021, which would require increasing GDP growth to 7.5% to 8% per year based on accelerated export and remittance growth, economists say. Both public and private investment will need to increase as well.
The new national budget for the next fiscal year estimated GDP to grow by 7.2%, although critics apprehended that the target would not be achieved due to political unrest, lower investment and slow down in the international market.
The government had also estimated that the GDP growth would be 7% in the outgoing fiscal year, but the latest estimate by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) say it would be 6.03%.
People might have said the budget is so lavish, but the maximum of the allocation were made for the deprived people, said the governor, adding that the budget is investment-friendly for small investors. “Challenge is always there but it needs fresh environment for implementation.”
He said about 22m people came out of poverty level in last 10 years.
Atiur said Bangladesh Bank has given importance expanding the SME loans and, as a result, small enterprisers were getting more loans. Due to avoiding the SME loans, in the developed countries, particularly in Italy, employment suffered setback.
“So, Bangladesh Bank is working on expanding the SME loans across the country and trying to make it women-friendly.”
General Manager of SME and Special Programs Department of Bangladesh Bank Sukamal Sinha Choudhury, Managing Director of Trust Bank Ishtiak Ahmed Chowdhury and senior bank executives were present at the function.
Sukamal said Bangladesh bank had directed the banks to set a help desk for SME loan and, as per the directive Trust Bank has made a help desk guideline. “It will help the mass people specially women in taking SME loan easily.”