Bangladesh economy projected to rise gradually: World Bank

Dhaka, May 1 (IANS) Despite external and internal challenges, the World Bank said Bangladesh’s economy remained strong and resilient though it trimmed its growth forecast for the economy at less than 7 percent in the current 2015-16 fiscal year.

The Bangladeshi government in June last year passed a record 3- trillion-taka (about $37 billion) national budget, targeting an economic growth of 7 percent for the current 2015-16 fiscal year, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

However, the World Bank on Saturday expressed its doubt about the government’s 7 percent beyond provisional growth estimate of Bangladesh’s GDP for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

In its Bangladesh Economic Update for April 2016 the Washington-based lender said “with modest fiscal expansion and some easing of the infrastructure bottlenecks, GDP growth is projected to rise gradually towards 7 plus percent.”

Zahid Hussain, the lead economist at the Dhaka office of the World Bank while addressing a programme on Saturday said Bangladesh’s GDP growth is very unlikely to reach 7 percent in this fiscal year.

He said some organisations predict 6.3 percent GDP growth, some others 6.6 percent and then again there are forecasts of 6.8 percent while the government says beyond 7 percent.

But one thing is sure that all predict over six percent GDP growth, he said and added whatever it may be really, this is going to one of the highest growths across the globe.

“Bangladesh is among the top 12 developing countries with a population of over 20 million, who achieved 6 plus percent growth in 2016,” the Economic Update mentioned.

UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) also suggested Bangladesh to reduce infrastructure and energy shortages, broaden the export base beyond garments and ensure decent work conditions and labour rights.

“The outlook for growth remains optimistic, with growth being projected at 6.8 percent in 2016 and 7 percent in 2017,” said the UNESCAP report, titled ‘Economic and Social Survey of Asia and The Pacific 2016’.

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