State minister for planning Shamsul Alam on Sunday said they don’t take the economists’ concerns that seriously and there are no crisis in the country's economy as Bangladesh is moving ahead in a planned way. He also said there is no weakness in the planning process.
The state minister was speaking as the chief guest at a discussion 'New Challenges in the economy of Bangladesh' that was organised by Economic Reporters' Forum (ERF) at its auditorium in the capital.
Shamsul Alam said, “We don’t consider the concerns of the economists that seriously. In the traditional political system, economists are experts in expressing fears. They were concerned about the construction of the Padma Bridge with our own funding. They also had feared that some 500,000 people would die of coronavirus. But in reality, that was not the case. However, I don’t know whether the inflation rate will be 10 per cent or not.”
He further said, “Bangladesh is moving ahead with a planned manner. There is no weakness in the plan. However, it will take time to achieve the desired goal in poverty alleviation. Bangladesh is under discomfort to some extent due to the global situation, but the country is under no crisis."
Turning to the issue of inflation, Shamsul Alam said the price hike in fuel oil has slightly instigated the inflation and there is no denying the fact that the people are now suffering.
Bangladesh is moving ahead with a planned manner. There is no weakness in the plan. However, it will take time to achieve the desired goal in poverty alleviation. Bangladesh is under discomfort to some extent due to the global situation, but the country is under no crisis
"There was no alternative to raise the fuel oil price. But, the government has taken various steps and hopefully the inflationary pressure will come down by October. Despite that, the inflationary pressure will be there."
Chief economist of Bangladesh Bank Md Habibur Rahman, executive director of Policy Research Institute (PRI) Ahsan H Mansur, executive president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Mohammad Hatem, chairperson of Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) Nihad Kabir and director of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI) Abul Kashem Khan attended the programme as panelists, BSS reports.
The discussion was presided over by ERF president Sharmeen Rinvy and was moderated by ERF general secretary SM Rashidul Islam.
We need more prudence in economic management. There is a kind of out of the box thinking in our economic system. It is said that we are exceptional. Although there are slight differences, the economy in most of the country has the same basics
PRI executive director Ahsan H Mansur said, “We need more prudence in economic management. There is a kind of out of the box thinking in our economic system. It is said that we are exceptional. Although there are slight differences, the economy in most of the country has the same basics. And it is not that we are not connected with the rest of the world. Therefore, we have to understand when, where and what kind of action is needed.”
Chief economist of the Bangladesh Bank Md Habibur Rahman said that the inflationary pressure would continue as it has been caused totally from imports. "Despite this, the Bangladesh Bank has taken various steps to contain inflation, bringing stability in the exchange rate, ensuring discipline in the financial sector. For this, efforts are on to control inflation through improving the supply side without raising the interest rate."
Noting that the economy of Bangladesh is in the right direction, Habibur Rahman said that hopefully the exchange rate of US dollar against Taka would come down soon and there would be improvement in other sectors.
Mohammad Hatem, executive director of BKMEA, said the production cost has increased while the manufacturers are also not getting the adjusted price of additional expenditure from the buyers. On the other hand, he said the businessmen are under pressure since the government has given them less time in repaying the loans under the stimulus package.
Former president of MCCI, Nihad Kabir said that there is sufficient stock of coal in the country and there is a need to ensure maximum utilisation of the country's own natural resources.
"Staying being competitive is the first challenge. Besides, various obstacles are being created in doing business owing to policies and regulations and thus raising the business cost. This is also a challenge," she added.
Nihad said that the common people are now feeling the heat as the price of essentials like rice, fish and chicken has increased in the market which needs to be adjusted in line with the declining trend of fuel oil price in global market.
Former president of DCCI Abul Kashem Khan noted that energy security is very important while there has been a revolution in the country's energy over the years.
"Energy has a big role in the dynamism that has been infused in the country's economy. But, the country is now import-dependent on energy and there is a need to rethink over the issue. There should be a master plan to ensure optimum use of coal and gas in the country so that it could become self- reliant on energy within the next 10 to 15 years," he mentioned.