Govt feels well over IMF’s latest growth projection: Kamal

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DHAKA, – Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal today said the government is feeling well over the latest GDP growth projection by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as it has upped its projection.

“Our forecasts are always based on actual facts and figures. But their (IMF, World Bank) projections are usually based on assumptions… yet, they (IMF) have mentioned well and it’s good news for us. The “feel factor” is good and we all are feeling well,” he said.

The finance minister was responding to questions from reporters after chairing virtually two separate meetings on Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP).

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its projection for the economic growth of Bangladesh to 5 percent for 2021, up from the 4.4 percent it forecast in October.

The Washington-based multilateral lender came up with the projection in its World Economic Outlook, which was published yesterday (Tuesday).

According to the IMF, the country will return to its high growth trajectory next year, when the gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to expand by 7.5 percent. The GDP will grow by 7.2 percent in 2026.

According to the IMF’s projection, India’s GDP would grow by 12.5 percent in 2021, Sri Lanka by 4 percent, Nepal by 2.9 percent, and Pakistan by 1.5 percent.

Earlier on March 31, the World Bank projected Bangladesh’s GDP to grow as high as 5.6 percent in the fiscal year 2020-21.

The finance minister said the World Bank and the IMF make projections about the global economies from time to time while it is a flexible sort of thing as they often raise and lower those.

But, he said, no matter the lending agencies give what kinds of projections, the government would have to accomplish its own tasks and thus move forward.

“We’ll have to accomplish our tasks pursuing practical aspects instead of theoretical aspects as to ensure how we can unleash much more development. Our goal is to implement the ideas of our policy perspectives in a timely and nice manner,” he added.

Asked whether the Ministry of Finance would come up with something to ease the sufferings of the low-income group people during the countrywide lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19, Kamal said the concerned authority is looking into the matter and necessary arrangements and decisions would be taken considering the interests, safety and security of the common people.

He, however, said his ministry always takes measures to ensure welfare of the people of the country and also to ensure that the common people are not affected.

Replying to another question, the finance minister said that the stimulus packages announced so far are the outcome of farsighted thoughts of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina while the Ministry of Finance is executing those.

Kamal told another questioner that the approvals for rice import are being given as per the requirements while the government changes the supplier of rice and switch to another source when the assigned supplier failed to provide rice in due time.

He said that the government would not procure more quantity of rice as it will hurt the farmers, on the other hand, it would not procure rice less than its requirements as it would also hurt the consumers. “We work on this after making a coordination.”

Kamal mentioned that such rice purchase is being done by the Ministry of Food in alignment with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Responding to another question over the possibility of availing a possible tranche from the IMF, he said the government would approach when it would hold a meeting with the IMF.

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