Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Monday said misuse and misappropriation of public funds in development projects is quite normal. However, he said, the government is working to check such irregularities.
"A lot of development projects are being executed in the country and it is quite normal that there will be misuse of money in these projects. But, measures are also being taken up to curb corruption," he said.
"Foreign contractors are being hired to implement projects which cannot be executed by local construction firms," the finance minister added.
Citing examples from countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, the finance minister said public funds are also embezzled in other countries. "But our government is working to limit corruption to a tolerable level," he said.
The finance minister made the remarks in response to a latest World Bank report that said Bangladesh could build 4,000 primary schools and construct 2,500 kilometres of rural roads, if the country can reduce corruption by only one percent.
He was briefing the media after holding separate meetings with European Union Ambassador to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink, and International Finance Corporation Country Manager Wendy Werner at his office.
Minister Mustafa Kamal also pointed out that the quality of investment being made in the country is not often up to the mark, which is holding Bangladesh back from reaching its anticipated development targets.
He also stressed the need for improving the quality of education in ensuring sustainable economic growth in the country. "The present government has focused on need-based, knowledge-based, growth-oriented education which will help create more job opportunities," he added.
The finance minister said Bangladesh will achieve over 8.3 percent growth of its gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of the current fiscal year.
The country will reach double-digit GDP growth by the next five years, he predicted.
He, however, expressed his hope that if the initiatives undertaken by the prime minister are implemented, the country will make marked improvement in the next three years instead of five years.
The national economy will start getting results of the ongoing development initiatives from next year, he said.
Minister Mustafa Kamal said the opening of the Padma Bridge will contribute to a one percent increase in the country's GDP growth.
In reply to a query of journalists, the finance minister said that the EU Ambassador has assured Bangladesh of continuing their support in resolving the Rohingya crisis.