Bangladesh economy now different: Muhith
Reported by: UNBconnect
Reported on: Jun 23, 2012 09:28 pm
Reported in: National
Dhaka, June 23 (UNB) – Defending his GDP growth projection in the new budget, the Finance Minister on Saturday said Bangladesh economy has turned out to be a different one and it has to be taken ahead keeping pace with the world.“The GDP growth has been projected at 7.2 percent for the next fiscal as we’ll have to move ahead keeping pace with the world,” AMA Muhith said while addressing a discussion on the ‘Proposed National Budget for 2012-13 Fiscal’ held at the Jatiya Press Club.Organised by the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF), BNP standing committee member Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan, renowned economist Dr. Binayak Sen and former FBCCI president Annisul Huq spoke on the occasion.The Finance Minister mentioned that there has been a revolutionary change in the growth rate of the country due to expansionary policy taken by the government. The growth rate reached 6.7 percent in fiscal 2010-11 from 6.1 percent in fiscal 2009-10.“I want to change the trend eying a 7.2 percent growth in the next fiscal year and then the growth projection may reach 7.5 percent,” he added.On the implementation progress of the ADP and the RADP, Muhith hoped that the RADP implementation progress would reach over 92 percent -- likely 95 percent -- in the outgoing fiscal year. “In our term, especially at this time, there has been much more implementation than any other time in the past.”Admitting that the government still has weaknesses in aid utilisation, the Finance Minister said the country’s aid projection for the next fiscal year includes Padma Bridge project. He said discussion is still going on for financing the mega bridge project. Muhith, however, expressed his resentment over the country’s two most circulated dailies –- Prothom Alo and the Daily Star – for character assassination of some key persons of the project for the alleged corruption in it. The Finance Minister said that so far some Tk 1,500 crore has been spent on land acquisition and rehabilitation of the project and not a single allegation of corruption was raised from a single source. About the newly-announced seven economic zones to be set up across the country, Muhith said their areas would be demarcated by this December alongside road and rail connections to the zones would be ensured. Justifying the government’s decision to set up rental and quick rental power plants, former FBCCI president Annisul Huq told a questioner that had there been no quick rental power plants, there would have been a negative GDP impact of over Tk 1,60,000 crore. “I think the quick rental power plants have saved the country’s economy,” he said. He, however, expressed his concern that the bigger power plants are not coming into operation timely due to inaptness of the government with the major donors like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. BNP standing committee member Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan alleged that the total power policy of the government has backfired. “The power sector has bled the country’s economy...supplying fuel to the quick rental power plants has caused bleeding to the economy.” Expressing his deep concern over the investment prospect of the country, the former BNP minister said that investment is related to good governance and it has not increased in the outgoing fiscal year and there is no sign of increase in the next fiscal either. “The amount of subsidy has also increased to a great extent which is not very good for the country’s economy,” he added. Dr. Moyeen Khan expressed his conviction that the GDP growth would not reach over 7 percent in the next fiscal and advocated for increasing the individual income tax ceiling to Tk 2,00,000 from the existing Tk 1,80,000 considering the inflation. Renowned economist Dr Binayak Sen said the most important factor for the next budget would be to maintain the macroeconomic stability. Mentioning that the growth rate of Bangladesh is one of the least volatile growth rates of the world, he said pushing the growth rate from 6.3 percent (FY 12) to 7.2 (projected in FY 13) would be a difficult task and there is no need to do that as countries like China and India are also downgrading their growth projections. Dr Binayak said if the country could maintain an average 6.5 percent growth for the period of 2010-15 that would be pretty in line.
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