Abdur Rahim Harmachi, Chief Economics Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Bangladesh has reported 5.24 percent GDP growth in FY 2019-20 with the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the economy for at least a third of the financial year.
The size of the GDP stood past Tk 27.96 trillion while per capita GNI surged to $2,064 from $1,909 the previous fiscal year.
After the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics or BBS published the latest data on Monday, Planning Minister MA Mannan expressed happiness calling the GDP growth “promising”.
“We had to go through different adversities. Almost everything was closed for four months from March to June. I would say that a 5.24 percent growth even after these hurdles is a very good growth,” he told bdnews24.com.
He thanked the people for “fending off the adversities and keeping the wheels of the economy rolling”.
“The World Bank and IMF forecast that our GDP growth would be below 2 percent. But we have achieved a respectable growth proving them wrong,” the minister said.
“I think many big countries will not be able to achieve this much growth,” he added.
With the economy almost fully reopened, the government has kept the annual GDP growth target for 2020-21 fiscal year unchanged at 8.2 percent.
The economy grew by a record 8.15 percent in FY 2018-19.
Bangladesh's gross domestic product would grow by 4.5 percent in fiscal year 2020 and 7.5 percent in fiscal year 2021, the Asian Development Bank said in June.
The World Bank in an April forecast the worst economic slump in Bangladesh in 40 years.
It said the country’s economy might post a growth between 2 percent and 3 percent in fiscal 2020, followed by 1.2 percent to 2.9 percent in fiscal 2021.
The International Monetary Fund in June almost halved its GDP growth forecast for Bangladesh in 2019-20 to 3.8 percent, about 3.5 percentage points less than the projection the IMF had forecast before the pandemic had begun.
The Centre for Policy Dialogue also forecast that Bangladesh would not able to post more than 2.5 percent GDP growth in the fiscal year that ended on Jun 30.
The government had revised the target down to 5.2 percent from 8.2 percent after the coronavirus crisis had begun.
Researcher Zaid Bakht believes 5.24 percent GDP growth is “nothing unusual” despite the pandemic.
“Because agricultural production was good. Remittances sent by the expatriates shattered records,” noted the director of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies.