Bangladesh’s GDP growth may plunge to 5.8pc

The country’s GDP growth in the current fiscal will plunge to 5.8 percent for lack of growth in export, domestic consumption and investment, claimed a World Bank (WB) report launched here on Saturday.“Weak exports and investments resulting from the impact of the euro-area crisis, domestic supply constraints, and intensified strikes and unrests underpin the growth slowdown,” said the April issue of WB’s Bangladesh Development Update.
Earlier, at a programme here on April 7, Finance Minister AMA Muhith also expressed his doubt about reaching the GDP growth target of 7.2 percent in the current fiscal year.
Briefing reporters on the Update at the WB office, its senior economist Zahid Hussain noted that despite some positive signs in remittance inflow and in the robust growth in the services, most economic indicators, including agricultural output, domestic consumption and export point to a slower economic growth in the fiscal 2012-13 from the previous year.
“Although the GDP growth rate this fiscal is expected to fall to 5.8 percent from the 6.3 percent achieved in the previous fiscal, it’s still a healthy growth if the predicted GDP growths in India, Pakistan, Nepal and China are taken into account,” he said. India and China are expecting 6.1 pc and 7.5 pc GDP growth respectively, whereas both Pakistan and Nepal are expecting a 3.8 percent growth.
Noting the factor that both food and non-food inflation has declined in the first nine months of the fiscal, Zahid said the government is expected to succeed in its target to restrain the inflation to 7.5 pc. The Update also shed some light on the development progress of the country in recent years, particularly in poverty reduction and other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), noted the senior economist. “Bangladesh has already achieved 3 of the 28 MDG targets, and is on track regarding 11 more targets,” he said, adding that the major accomplishment for the country is the reduction of maternal mortality rate to 14.4 pc in 2010, compared to the 5.75 pc mortality in 1991. The number of poor had also been declining by 1.5 crore per year during 2000-2010 compared to the 0.23 crore decline rate observed during the previous decade, he added.
Zahid, however, noted that despite some progresses in some human development indicators, the employment rate has remained stagnant. “The country needs to raise investment to boost job creation in order to become a middle income country by 2021,” he said. He noted that the current investment rate has also remained stagnant at 25.2 percent of the GDP.
WB Dhaka office acting country director Salman Zahir was also present at the press briefing. UNB

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