Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said that the government has planned to introduce market-based foreign currency exchange rates.
“The exchange rates of dollar and other foreign currencies will be determined based on market demand and supply. However, the limit on the interest rate of bank loans and deposits will not be changed for the time being,” the minister told reporters after meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase on Wednesday.
Kamal said, “The foreign currency exchange rates will depend on the market. Foreign exchange management will be similar to other emerging economies.”
“However, there is no plan to remove the limit imposed on the interest rate of bank loans and deposits because it is difficult to control inflation through interest rates in Bangladesh. So the government is trying to control inflation through fiscal and monetary policies.” In response to another question, the minister said that he is not anticipating a reduction in foreign exchange reserves.
“Export income has increased recently and import costs have also come down. On the other hand, remittance flow has increased averaging $2 billion per month. As a result, foreign exchange reserves will increase in the future instead of decreasing.”
He hopes that it will reach $48 billion soon.
The finance minister said that discussions are going on regarding oil imports from Russia. “If the negotiations are finalised, efforts will be made to bear the expense of imported oil by swapping Bangladeshi Taka and Russian Ruble.”
After the meeting, Additional Secretary of the Cabinet Division Abdul Barik said in a virtual press conference that the committee has given approval to the food ministry to buy nine lakh tonnes of rice to keep the market stable.
“Out of this, four lakh tonnes of rice will be purchased through direct purchase method. The remaining five lakh tonnes will be purchased through open tender. The time limit for the tender has been fixed at 15 days instead of 42 days for bringing in rice at the earliest.”
It is known that the production of Aman is expected to be disrupted due to drought. In such a reality, the government has made a big purchase plan so that there is no shortage of rice.
Earlier, the government had decided to import three and a half lakh tonnes of rice from India and Myanmar, which has already been approved by the purchase committee. Apart from this, the process of importing five lakh tonnes of wheat from Russia has started.
Abdul Barik also informed that the committee has approved a total of 16 proposals in the meeting, including the agriculture ministry’s proposal to purchase 90,000 tonnes of fertiliser, the commerce ministry’s proposal to purchase 2.25 crore litres of soybean oil and 15,000 tonnes of lentil, and the Internal Resources Division’s proposal to purchase data controller machines.