Kamal sees opportunity in economic challenges

Staff Correspondent

24 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Despite challenges, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal hopes that the country’s macroeconomic trends will remain positive in the next fiscal year

“I won’t say that there will be no challenges. There will be a lot of economic challenges in the next fiscal year. But we always consider those challenges an opportunity,” Kamal told reporters on Wednesday after he emerged from a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase.

“We’ve observed from the history that any economic challenges create enormous opportunity,” he stated.

Although macroeconomic indicators have become healthy in the closing months of the current fiscal year although they remained somewhat sluggish early in the year, he claimed.

“Many had apprehension that we would not be able to achieve growth, but we’ve achieved it, which has been possible with the timely decision of the Prime Minister,” he remarked.

He identified revenue earning as the main problem of the outgoing FY21. But he said the revenue growth shot up to 17 percent now. Similarly, export growth rose to 14 percent while reserve and remittance are likely to rise to $46 billion and $25 billion at the end of this year, he noted. 

In reply to a question about the growing budget deficit, the finance minister said at present most of the countries are following budget deficit policy as a tool for protecting lives and livelihoods.

Against Bangladesh’s 6.2 percent budget deficit, the deficits of US, India, Japan, China, Indonesia and Vietnam are 18.72 percent, 13.07 percent, 12.09 percent, 11.88 percent, 8.96 percent 6.2 percent respectively, Kamal informed.

Quick announcement of incentive packages last year helped ensure supply of money to the people. “As a result, people at least got food and continue their lives and livelihoods,” he noted.  

With regard to a question on allowing black money whitening as special incentive in the next fiscal year, Kamal any decision about the issue will known on June 29 when the finance bill will be passed at the national parliament.

When asked about the government's stance on availing COVID-19 vaccines from India or in default the possible measures for realizing the given money, the Minister said the ministry of health is looking into the matter.

 He, however, informed that if the supplier ultimately failed to provide vaccines, then they would refund the money.

 Replying to another question about the reserve heist of Bangladesh Bank, Kamal denied making any comment.

  About the progress on installing Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) machines by the NBR, Kamal admitted that the process has been a bit slow as the pandemic has impacted every sector.

 He said the EFD machines are now being installed adding that once the situation gets normal, then the EFD machines would be installed in a speedy manner and also in the soonest possible time.

 The Finance Minister told another questioner that he is yet to get any formal request from the BGMEA and BKMEA on loan term rescheduling in the wake of the pandemic. "Once I get that, then the matter will be looked into." 

He also said that each ministry or division is authorised to make their own procurements unless those exceed a certain limit. Only then the Procurement proposals come to purchase Committee, he added.