Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal Friday said the country will achieve an 8.2% growth in its gross domestic product (GDP) this fiscal year to prove the World Bank's forecast wrong, said a ministry press release.
Kamal said, "We set and achieve goals based on our abilities. We have to prove time and again that we are right. Once again, we will attain the targeted growth and prove that our projection is right."
The World Bank in a report on Thursday predicted that Bangladesh's GDP will grow by a paltry 1.6% in the current 2020-21 fiscal year. The growth rate in the next fiscal was forecast to be 3.4%.
The global lender in the report warned that South Asia was heading for an unprecedented economic downturn due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
In his reaction to that report, Mustafa Kamal said if one were to list all the projections of the global lender so far, it would be found that the projections are far from reality.
The government in the national budget for FY2020-21 set GDP growth target at 8.2%.
In September, the Asian Development Bank (ADP) forecast Bangladesh's GDP growth rate at 6.8% in FY2020-21. Earlier in June, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected the growth to be 6%.
"We believe they have published a report in that conventional way this time too," said Kamal, adding the World Bank's growth projection does not reflect Bangladesh's current economic recovery.
The finance minister said the method of the World Bank projection is very conservative.
"The numbers they predicted on our GDP growth this time were being mentioned since the beginning of the pandemic-induced economic slowdown. And they are still in the same place.
"Three months of our fiscal year have passed and we still have nine months. The country's economy has almost counteracted the virus fallout," added Kamal.
He said the World Bank is an international financial institution and that its information about a country or a subject affects everyone rationally.
According to the minister, despite significant pressure on health and virus infection management, the government's appropriate stimulus packages and social protection schemes have consolidated the economy, ensuring basic services and products for the poor and vulnerable.
The finance minister said, "Almost all sectors including domestic, private, and government spending, investment, exports and remittance are in a strong position."
Mustafa Kamal said, "Although the country witnessed a boost in remittance inflows, many think it is temporary. When we introduced incentives to encourage remittance inflow in legal channels, many also then said it would have no effect on remittance.
"But the reality is that remittance inflows have increased as a result of the government initiatives."
Criticising economists who believe the high remittance inflow would not sustain, Kamal said, "Some so-called experts say remittance has increased as Bangladeshi expatriates are returning home with their savings due to the pandemic."
"But they might have forgotten that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's bold decision to simplify remittance transactions and provide a 2% cash incentive on remittance. Remittance inflows through banking channels jumped even before the virus outbreak," Kamal further said.
He said that it was not logical to assume that high remittance inflow would not continue in upcoming days.
Addressing the people of the country, he said, "We said time and again that the countrymen are the driving force of the economy and they will prove the World Bank forecast irrelevant."