Coming off its earlier prediction

Coming off its earlier prediction, the IMF now expects Bangladesh to retain its thin yet distinct lead over much larger neighbour India in terms of per capita gross domestic product (GDP), a key measure of prosperity, in 2021 and then over the next five years till 2026, thanks to buoyancy in remittance, exports and the agricultural sector. India emerged as one of the worst-affected countries in the world from the pandemic in 2021. its per capita GDP declined to $1,929 in 2020 from $2,098 in 2019, according to IMF.

With its $355 billion-economy now the second-biggest in South Asia, Bangladesh in 2020 surpassed India on per capita GDP for the first time, thanks to its more than 6 percent annual economic expansion for the last 15 years. This week, the so-called global ‘lender of last resort’ forecast that Bangladesh's per capita GDP would accelerate to $2,138 this year, while India's despite a strong rebound would reach just $2,116.

 

After the Finance Ministry, Bangladesh Bank issued similar instructions to four state-owned banks about reducing their ever-increasing portfolio of default loans. In addition, the central bank also asked them to take quick action to strengthen their respective capital bases since they have been facing capital shortfalls for a long time. The four banks – Sonali Bank, Janata Bank, Agrani Bank and Rupali Bank – were also asked to invest their excess liquidity to make a profit.

According to Bangladesh Bank sources, these four state-owned banks have been instructed to reduce excessive default loans, capital and provision shortfalls. They have also been told to expedite disbursement from the incentive packages announced by the government to tackle Covid-19 economic fallouts. It also came to the central bank's knowledge that loans were being distributed to the same circle of people, depriving new entrepreneurs and other loan seekers, which they ordered to cease immediately.

 

The United Nations and its various agencies and partners finally commenced operations in Bhasan Char, the remote Bay of Bengal island where the Bangladesh government has moved some 20,000 Rohingya refugees, with plans to move another 80,000 roughly 10% of the total refugee population that is housed in the squalid, overcrowded camps of Ukhiya, along the border with Myanmar. Engagement by the United Nations in Bhasan Char is expected to stop the Rohingyas fleeing from the island, according to government officials. So far, nearly 700 out of the 20,000 Rohingyas, who were relocated earlier, have tried to escape from the island. This has been a major challenge for the authorities.

Led by camp focal heads in Bhasan Char, the Rohingya community on Sunday brought out a procession to celebrate the signing of an MoU between thje UN and GoB. The 30-minute procession was joined by some 1,000-1,200 Rohingyas living on the island. The participants were carrying placards and banners that read “Welcome UN”, “Welcome UNHCR”, “Thank You UN”, “We Are Happy At Bhasan Char 2021”, and other similar slogans, reads a press release.

 

The net government borrowing from the banking sector stood at Tk 4,597.02 crore in the July-September period of the current fiscal (2021-22). At the end of August, the figure was Tk 7,519 crore. The net domestic borrowing by the government from the banking sector has remained low since the Covid outbreak amid a slow ADP spending, higher flow of external debt and payment of state-owned entities’ surplus fund to the government. A rebound in tax collection by the National Board of Revenue also contributed to the lower government borrowing from banks despite lower net sales of national savings certificates.

In the first three months of the current fiscal year, the government’s borrowing from the central bank declined against an increase in its borrowing from the scheduled banks. As per a BB report, the government repaid Tk 9,524.16 crore to the BB but borrowed Tk 14,121 crore from scheduled banks against Bangladesh government treasury bills and bonds.

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