Bangladesh minister upset over lower growth projection by WB, ADB

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - His frustration came two days after the WB projected 6.5 per cent GDP growth for the current fiscal year, much below the government's provisional estimate of 7.65 per cent.

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal yesterday expressed deep shock over the economic growth projection made by development partners for the current fiscal year, which was much lower than the government's provisional estimate.

“I am sorry to the World Bank. I can't accept your projection on GDP growth for this fiscal year,” he told reporters at a news briefing at the conference room of the National Economic Council at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka.

“The downsized economic growth projection of the WB and the Asian Development Bank has made me upset,” he said.

Kamal suggested that the development lenders collect accurate figures and information from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and talk to officials concerned of the state agency before making the economic growth projection. The BBS is efficient and its estimate is correct as well as there is no manipulation, he said.

His frustration came two days after the WB projected 6.5 percent GDP growth for the current fiscal year, much below the government's provisional estimate of 7.65 percent.

Yesterday, the ADB projected 7 percent economic growth for 2017-18.

“The BBS is collecting information and analysing the data under the project funded by the WB. But the WB doesn't believe it and expresses doubt over the BBS projection on economic growth. It is really shocking,” said the planning minister.

According to the minister, the WB is bankrolling five projects with a view to making the BBS efficient and more credible.

Kamal said the real GDP growth would be more than the projected 7.65 percent as the provisional figure was based on the data available in the first nine months of the fiscal year.

He believes the economic growth would hit double digits within a short time.

The minister also gave the latest implementation figure on the annual development programme (ADP).

The government has implemented 45.65 percent of the ADP from July to March, up from 45.15 percent in the corresponding period last fiscal year.

Kamal said the quality of work was improving in line with the implementation efficiency of line ministries or executing agencies.

In reply to a question, the minister said the government should improve the oversight of banking activities to avoid scams.

The culprits involved in the scams should be brought under trial and handed exemplary punishment, he said. 

The minister said the government gave the banking licences so that they could contribute to the economic development but some people were abusing the licences.

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