Finance minister hopes Bangladesh economy won’t tank if COVID-19 is tamed

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-03-31 19:34:16 BdST

AHM Mustafa Kamal (File Photo)

Bangladesh’s economy will not be under pressure if the coronavirus infections can be controlled and the global market is not impacted, AHM Mustafa Kamal hopes.

“I believe we won’t be affected if the coronavirus cases remain under control. But we’re aligned with the global economy. We’ll suffer if our buyers are hugely affected,” the finance minister said in a virtual press briefing on Wednesday following a meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs.

“We have two sources - domestic and overseas market. We can control the domestic market. All countries have rolled out inoculation programme and hopefully the pandemic will ebb once every country completes it. This is what the entire world is hoping for.”

Kamal was asked if the domestic market faces the risk of being affected by the pandemic in future.

“It depends on how much loss we have suffered or going to suffer. I hope we’ll be able to overcome the trouble,” Kamal offered.

As many as 28,696 coronavirus cases were reported over the past one week, the highest weekly virus caseload since the pandemic hit Bangladesh. The overall death toll is approaching 9,000

Bangladesh logged 5,042 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, taking the tally of infections to 605,937. The death toll climbed to 8,994 after 45 fatalities were registered overnight, according to data released by the government.

The finance minister brushed aside concerns about uncertainties over second doses of coronavirus vaccine due to India’s halt on export.

“The health minister never mentioned anything like that. There’s no reason for not getting the vaccine. We’ll get it,” he said.

The Bangladesh economy is trying to turn around and the public inoculation drive will propel the growth furthermore, believes the World Bank. The global lending agency has estimated more economic growth in Bangladesh than the figure forecast.

“They (World Bank) check if our measures, methods are correct and weighs out [some things from] all the parameters,” Kamal said about the World Bank’s estimates.

“They accept the figure we show at the end of the year. We haven’t finalised our accounts and we don’t project (at this point). But they have yearly and monthly projections. We provide a final account annually.”