Bangladesh maintains macroeconomic stability: Mercy Tembon

DHAKA World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Mercy Miyang Tembon today said that Bangladesh continued its robust growth performance and maintained macroeconomic stability while remaining a fast growing economy.

The industrial and service-sector led growth was supported by high public and private consumption. The RMG exports are expanded by double digit and officially recorded remittances reached a new record, she said.

The World Bank Country Director said this in her inaugural speech at the launching of the report titled Bangladesh Development Update October 2019: Tertiary Education and Job Skills at the Bank's resident mission office in the city's Agargaon area.

World Bank consultant and former lead economist Zahid Husain also spoke on the occasion while Senior Economist Bernard Haven made a power-point presentation on the occasion.

Mercy Tembon said sustaining consumption helped the rural economy to grow fast and a year of robust agricultural production helped to contain inflationary pressure while the budget deficit remained within 5 percent of GDP.

Debt to GDP ratio is well within the sustainability threshold, she said adding that Bangladesh has undoubtedly made remarkable progress in reducing extreme poverty as it fell from 31.5 percent in 2010 to 24.3 percent in 2017.

Tembon, however, said despite this strong progress, some drivers of poverty reduction appear to be weakening and vulnerability remains as a concern.

So, in overall performance, there is a room for improvement, especially if Bangladesh wants to achieve its aspiration of becoming an upper middle-income country. Sustaining economic growth in Bangladesh will require a series of reforms to boost private sector investment, diversify exports and increase productivity, she said.

Noting that the financial sector is currently suffering from a high number of Non Performing loans as well as the private sector credit growth has slowed down, the World Bank Country Director said the revenue collection fell short of the budget targets while there are infrastructure bottlenecks.

In business climate, Bangladesh has made some progress and there is still a long way to go. Competitiveness, logistics and the ease of doing business remained high in the reform agenda, she said.

Touching upon the issue of tertiary education and skills development, Tembon said as Bangladesh moves towards its aspiration entering towards the 4th Industrial revolution, skills development will become increasingly important.

The demand for high-level skills has grown with the economy, she said adding that the World Bank has partnered with Bangladesh to find out solutions on these critical challenges.

The World Bank Country Director also reiterated her Bank's commitment to Bangladesh that her team would continue to deliver results-oriented projects and quality technical assistance as well as conduct advisory work like the Bangladesh Development Update based on evidence and rigorous analysis.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)