Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said he does not believe in study findings by private research organisations that the Covid-19 pandemic has created two to two and a half crore new poor in the country.
After a meeting of the cabinet committee on government procurement on Wednesday, he told reporters that he wants to know where the research organisations got this data.
The government has its own organisation – the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) – to determine the poverty rate, he said. "We cannot accept information from anyone else before we get it from the BBS."
Speaking about economists' remarks that the new poor were not included in the proposed budget, he said there is no weakness in the budget. "We will see the beneficiaries when the budget implementation begins."
"We have prepared the new budget to cover those people you have questions about," the minister added.
He said the economy would flourish further in the future if the low-income people could be identified and included in the mainstream economy. "We are working on that."
A report by the World Bank on Tuesday said Bangladesh's GDP growth would be 5.1% in the next fiscal year.
Commenting on this, Kamal said, "First, we have to see whether the World Bank's forecasts have matched the reality so far. Even if there are some small deviations, we never saw their figures align with reality."
He also said the government would be able to implement the FY22 projections and this fiscal year's growth would be 6.1%.
"We believe growth will even exceed 6.1% considering the positive macroeconomic trend towards the end of the financial year, in May and June. It will be the highest in South Asia.
"It is only a matter of days before you can see whether we have achieved it or not," he added.