18 days ago

Economy recovering from stress

Finance minister tells journalists

Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali
Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali

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Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali on Monday said the country has been making a recovery from the economic stresses gradually and returning back on track.

"Bangladesh is now doing well. It is not like we have come out of the crisis. But we're trying," he told journalists after a series of meetings at his secretariat office.

Director-General of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Takeo Konishi, Country Director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Arnoud Hameleers, and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh IWAMA Kiminori met the minister earlier.

In an apparent response to some people's curiosity whether the country would go bankrupt, he categorically said: "No, Bangladesh has not gone bankrupt. Such a big country won't become bankrupt."

The minister, however, made it clear that it would not be possible for the newly-formed cabinet to fix all the problems in a day just after taking office. "Yes, we've returned back on track."

In his meeting with the Japanese ambassador, the minister said the Japanese investors want to invest more in Bangladesh.

About the meeting with the IFAD country director, Mr Ali said Bangladesh has been a leading member of the IFAD for a long time.

He said that there are some problems in the marketing system of Bangladesh, thus prices of goods go high due to the existence of middlemen in the process.

Farm products change hands while they are on their way to the metropolitan areas from the producers in the rural areas, he said, adding that the prices of commodities go up due to the involvement of middlemen.

"We're trying to address the issue where IFAD is helping us along with other development partners," said the minister.

IFAD Country Director Arnoud Hameleers told the journalists that presently seven active projects involving US$ 2.1 billion, funded by the IFAD, are underway.

"The focus of IFAD in the future in terms of investment in Bangladesh will be very much focused on the climate proofing agriculture system," he said.

He added that IFAD will be working on connecting small producers directly to the market, and also creating a value chain.

Praising Bangladesh's role in adapting to climate change, he said: "Bangladesh is an innovator especially in the context of climate change."

The Japanese Ambassador IWAMA Kiminori said he discussed with the finance minister about the economic policy of the country. "Of course, we're contributing a lot and we'll continue to do so in terms of development assistance."

He said Japan will encourage more investment from the Japanese companies to Bangladesh.

In this case, he advocated for providing more incentives to the investors and reducing the difficulties for the Japanese investors here.

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