BD has potential to achieve higher inclusive growth: IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday said Bangladesh has a vibrant economy and strong potential to achieve a higher and sustained inclusive growth.

“Realising this potential will require safeguarding macroeconomic stability; further strengthening the financial sector, business climate and labour conditions,” said IMF Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara in a statement at the conclusion of his two-day visit to Bangladesh.

IMFHe also laid emphasis on building a fiscal space to increase the level and quality of spending on health, education, and critical infrastructure.

“The authorities (BD) have made substantial progress in strengthening macroeconomic conditions supported by the IMF-supported Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement, approved in April 2012,” Shinohara said.

He mentioned that the IMF will continue to work closely with the government of Bangladesh to support the policies and reforms oriented towards safeguarding macroeconomic and financial stability and achieving higher growth and further poverty reduction.

During his stay in Dhaka, Shinohara met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Finance Minister AMA Muhith and held discussions with the leaders of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).

He also visited the National Parliament and met members of Parliament’s Standing Committee on the Ministry of Finance, as well as senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Bangladesh Bank (BB).

“During my visit, I was impressed by the authorities’ determination to transform Bangladesh into a middle-income country with sustainable and equitable opportunities for all,” he said.

The IMF official said the authorities (BD) highlighted their intention to continue to strengthen public debt management, focusing external borrowing on projects with high social returns.

They also concurred with the importance of strengthening the financial position of the state-owned commercial banks through enhanced supervision and corporate governance, complemented with gradual recapitalisation as required, Shinohara added.

He mentioned that Bangladesh has had a remarkable economic and social performance over the past two decades, with significant poverty reduction and low, stable levels of inequality.

Progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals is also remarkable, particularly on increasing access to primary education and eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary schools, he observed.

“To safeguard these achievements and ensure sustained high and inclusive growth going forward, the authorities recognise that continued efforts are needed on several fronts,” said the IMF official.