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GDP growth to hit record 8.13% in 2018-19 fiscal year

  • Published at 04:03 pm March 19th, 2019
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chairs the meeting of the National Economic Council at the Planning Ministry in Dhaka's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 Focus Bangla

The finance minister says the per capita income in the country has now risen to $1,909

Bangladesh’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is set to grow by an 8.13%—the highest ever in the country’s economic history—in the current fiscal year (FY2018-19).   

Besides, the per capita income of the country is also set to grow to $1,909 in the current fiscal year, up from $1,751 in the previous fiscal year (FY2017-18), stated Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, while briefing the press after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting held at its conference room on Tuesday. 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting.

“Bangladesh's GDP growth rate is going to reach 8.13%, against 7.86% recorded in the last fiscal year," said the finance minister referring to the provisional estimation of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data. He added that "the per capita income will also increase to $1,909".  

He said the total size of the GDP in FY2018-19 will rise to Tk2,536,177 crore from Tk2,250,479 crore recorded in the previous fiscal year.

"The macro-economic performance of the country is very good, which will contribute to achieving the robust GDP growth,” said Kamal. 

The minister furthered that the production of the agriculture and manufacturing sectors were "also very good", while the export performance was "robust", leading to healthy per capita income and the GDP growth.   

According to BBS provisional data, the growth of the agriculture sector in this year is going to reach 3.51%, the industry sector to 13.02%, and growth in the services sector to 6.50%.

Additionally, the Gross National Income (GNI) in the current fiscal year is expected to reach Tk2,649,786 and the per capita GDP to $1,827.

The government also forecast that the investment to GDP ratio will stand at 31.57%—of which 8.17% will come from public investment and 23.40% from private sector investment. 

In FY2017-18, investment to GDP ratio was 31.23%—of which 7.97% was from public investment and 23.26% from private sector investment. 

Mustafa Kamal also expressed high optimism in attaining double digit growth rate within the next four years as the economic indicators are performing well. Terming the private sector as "the engine of growth", he said: "The government will give more incentives to the private sector to further engage them into the mainstream economy."

Economists, however, remain skeptical about the GDP growth projection as it does not match with other economic indicators.   

Policy Research Institute (PRI) Executive Director Ahsan H Mansur said other economic indicators including credit growth, investment scenario, and imports make materialization of the projected growth seem unlikely.

Claiming tax revenues to be "very small," Ahsan questioned where the growth will come from.

"There is a mismatch [between the actual and projected data] and it makes us [economists] uncomfortable. It is difficult to understand how much growth has been achieved in a true sense," said the economist. 

"We are not observing optimism at the stock market, money market, in credit demand, or in export-import—which should be present in a country with an 8% GDP growth rate," he added.