I have a few questions on the methodology of the World Bank to prepare the report. I think they have prepared the report in a truly mechanical way without considering the contexts of individual countries.
Bangladesh's economy is now capable of achieving a definite growth of 4-5% as the agricultural sector of the country is almost unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sectors related to the industry are not far behind and the state of export earnings is not alarming. Overall economic recovery has been about 70% so far.
Considering these issues, 1.6% economic growth is very unlikely.
There is no denying that the budgetary growth targets set by the government are highly ambitious.
The government-set targets could be achieved if the economic recovery from pandemic induced damages were 100% and vaccines for Covid-19 were available.
The economy is unable to achieve around 7% cent growth in the absence of the vaccine. We can expect such a growth in the next fiscal year (FY22).
The government should create opportunities for private investment to revive the industrial sector to achieve a healthy economic growth through proper implementation of the stimulus packages declared earlier.
Poor and vulnerable people require more cash and food supports to boost aggregate demand. The government should increase the size and the depth of social safety programmes in this regard.
Both consumer spending and investment are lower due to a lack of confidence.
Availability of Covid-19 vaccines would boost people's confidence therefore vaccines should be the immediate priority of the government.
Further trends of the economy would be determined by the public health situation, which is why the government should take actions to eliminate the low-falls of the health sector.
Vaccination has started in the USA and European countries. Consumer spending in these countries would increase in the near future, which would boost our export earnings.
I think about 70% of the economic activities have recovered. We would observe full recovery by June next year depending on the availability of vaccines. I expect normal economic growth – above 8% – in FY22.
Dr Monzur Hossain spoke to Jahidul Islam over the phone.