BD economy is performing better
Amid sporadic political agitations and unpredictable weather conditions throughout 2017, the key economic indicators of the country showed good results. However, last year the economy took a hit on spiralling rice prices and a messy banking sector. In the 2016-2017 fiscal, Bangladesh economy grew by a record 7.28 per cent, beating the 7.0 per cent target. This became possible due to increased revenue collection, high foreign currency reserves propelled by a spike in export and remittance inflow. However, a number of economists raised concerns over increased rice import and soaring prices following back-to-back rounds of floods and lack of necessary supervision in the banking sector.
In short, last year's economy performed well on the whole. The country's Gross Domestic Product or GDP had grown by over 7.0 per cent for two years, and the Padma Bridge construction is going at full steam. Also country's power generation has increased. These are all good signs and it is expected that Bangladesh will march at double speed in 2018. But not to forget, it is election year and the entire performance trajectory may well change because of potential political instability. It is for this reason the government must pay special attention for ensuring a peaceful, all-inclusive and credible general election.
The size of Bangladesh's GDP is now USD 249.68 billion. The per capita income stands at USD 1,610. The foreign exchange reserves rose to a record high of USD 33 billion in June 2017. Such achievement came at a tremendous collective effort, and together we must thrive to make it better and bigger.
We, however, underscore the need to strategically address inequality of income since the benefits of a good economy are yet to reach the public. There is lot to be done. Triggered by an unprecedented increase in bad debts, liquidity shortage and financial scams marred the new banks, cleared on political considerations. This resulted in a severe governance crisis in the financial sector of the economy. Of the 57 banks operating in Bangladesh, 13 are now on the regulators' list of banks in poor financial state. Authorities concerned must take serious note of the situation.
Once more we reiterate, there is no room for complacency. The performance of the economy in the financial years of 2018-2019 - following the general election due in late 2018 is yet uncertain - since it depends on the actions and reactions of the contending political parties both during and after the upcoming election. The country's politicians must calculate their ambitions and objectives not by harming the economy.