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Realistic measures needed to keep the wheels of economy running

01 Feb 2023 00:01:27 | Update: 01 Feb 2023 00:01:27
Realistic measures needed to keep the wheels of economy running

The finance ministry at the meeting of the Fiscal Co-ordination Committee last month presented its projection of a quantum leap in the forex exchange reserves in the coming June. The month of January had been predicted as a potential game-changer by the high-ups of the government. But the month of January has gone by without any change in the economy of the country. Central currency reserves continued to dip making it difficult for businesspersons to cope with the situation.

As per the projection of the Finance Division of the Finance Ministry, the foreign exchange reserves would stand at $37.7 billion in the coming June which the leading economists of the country nullified instantly terming it as unrealistic. Zahid Hussain, a former lead economist of the World Bank’s Dhaka office told the media: “This is unrealistic. If the reserves have to increase to that extent the Balance of Payment (BoP) must be in surplus: the surplus in the financial account must overcome the deficit in the current account.”

He stated that if both are in deficit at the moment; how the overall BoP will turn to surplus is not clear. The government projection of the increase in the foreign exchange reserves does not match the views and opinions of the renowned and leading economists in the country. The situation reminds us of the same overreaching message of the government two months before January. It is the same harping on the same topic without any visible change in the economic life of the people. We will go back to square one.

The other features and factors of the economy tell us the same story. Economist Ahsan H Mansur told the media that conglomerates had already lost Tk65, 000 crore because they have to buy the greenback at an exuberant price due to the volatility of the market. The economist said this at a roundtable discussion titled ‘Monetary Policy 2022-23’ organised by the Chartered Accountants (ICAB) in the capital. Even the central bank data shows that the taka has been devalued by 25 per cent due to the Ukraine-Russia war that began in February last year.

We hope that the projection of the government will come true. We also hope that the economy of the country will get back on the right track again.

We feel that the government needs to locate the loopholes that are weakening our economy and standing in the way of our development.  A serious economic parley between the government and the various stakeholders and leading economists might come to a conclusion with some realistic and prudent measures to save the economy from collapse.

We don’t think our country will meet the fate of Sri Lanka. We have our dedicated workers sending remittances regularly to our country. We have a booming agricultural sector that is contributing to our economy every year, though marginalised people are most of the time deprived of their rights and finally we have also the garment sector that continues to be to a huge foreign exchange earner.

If we can tap all the potential of the country we will not have to look back. We need a comprehensive measure in every field where we have our potential and some realistic measures to keep the economy stable by swelling our forex reserves. There is no alternative. We have still time to march forward with whatever we have and realistic measures taken by the government are essential.