Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder has got a D grade – behind even his Sri Lankan counterpart – in a global assessment of the performance of the heads of the central banks, according to a report card by New York-based financial magazine Global Finance.
The magazine’s Central Banker Report Cards-2023 was published on Sunday.
Bangladesh Bank’s poor performance was blamed on the high inflation and devaluation of the taka, the report said.
Meanwhile, the central bank heads of India Shaktikanta Das, Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Hong, and Switzerland’s Thomas Jordan got topped the list with A+ grade. The Indian governor’s grade improved to A+ in 2023 from A in 2022.
Sri Lankan Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinhe got A-, while the Pakistan’s Central Bank Governor Jameel Ahmad received C- grade in the ranking.
Since 1994, Global Finance Magazine has been evaluating the governors of different countries around the world. 'Central Banker Report Card' is regularly published as an annual publication of the periodical. Based on the assessment of central bank governors of 101 important countries, this latest report for 2023 has been published.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) along with many other central banks in the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), the mandate was reasonably met during the first half of the review period: Post-Covid GDP growth was solid at 5.6 per cent, while inflation modestly overshot BB's 5 per cent target by 0.6 per cent and the taka was steady, Global Finance magazine said.
"However, by mid-2022, the taka was devalued by 9.5 per cent; importers struggled with foreign exchange; energy and food costs ballooned due to the Ukraine conflict; and inflation ran rampant.
A call went out for the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) support after burning through central bank foreign exchange reserves.
“But the structural weakness of the Bangladeshi economy and the government's 60 per cent control of the central bank produces a vulnerability to externalities such as the inflation shock of 2022," the report mentioned.
Commenting on the report senior economist Ahsan H Mansur told UNB this is a reflection of the state of Bangladesh's economy more than the performance of the central bank’s governor.
“He (governor) should not be held personally responsible for this,” said Mansur, Chairman of the think tank Policy Research Institute. “The central bank governors implement the government’s financial policies.”
Mansur, a former IMF economist, said “No central governor can alone perform better if the state policies are not supportive.” The report, he said, has reflected the country’s poor revenue collection, runaway inflation and high devaluation of taka.