Swelling forex reserves to fund mega projects

Dhaka,  Sat,  03 December 2016
Published : 19 Oct 2016, 00:26:37

Swelling forex reserves to fund mega projects

Muhith says as 35 receive Bangladesh Bank remittance awards
FE Report


The government will now borrow from country's growing foreign-exchange reserves to finance mega development projects for next fiscal year.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith unveiled the plan Tuesday while handing over the Bangladesh Bank Remittance Award 2015 to those who made outstanding contribution to the nation's coffers of foreign currencies that surged over 30 billion US dollars.         

"The reserve has become a big amount by now. It was US$4.0 billion when we came to power. Now it has reached $31 billion. The money needs better use, and we are thinking about it," he said, adding: "We will take loan from you (remitters) and invest it in various projects."

He will make an announcement to this effect in the next fiscal budget.

Mr Muhith also expressed his firm optimism about attaining the economic growth target set for the current fiscal year on the back of various infinitives undertaken.

In the next fiscal year, he forecast, the growth rate will be 7.3 per cent. "The current economic indicators show that sign," he said to underpin his hope.    

The central bank organised the function to recognise the contribution of non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) in uplifting country's economic condition by sending home hard-earned foreign currencies. Thirty-five persons and institutions have been awarded for the past year.   

Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir, bank and financial institutions division secretary Eunusur Rahman, chief executives of several banks, and award-recipients also spoke on the occasion. Central bank deputy governor SK Sur Chowdhury presided.

Mr Muhith had words of praise for the award-recipients. They have been doing a great deal for economic uplift of the country, he said in his accolade.   

He said the foreign-currency owners will get profit against their money to be invested but they won't have to bear any risk of loss.

"Through investing your money in projects we will be able to use it for betterment of the country," he said, directing his words towards the over 8.0 million expatriate Bangladeshis.

The finance minister said public-sector investment had increased by 3 to 4 per cent during the last couple of years but private-sector investment remained static.

But he was hopeful that the private-sector investment would also take an upturn this fiscal year. The reason, he said, is that the economic activities of the country have reached a stage that none could act to hinder that.

Society is not accepting activities like hartal and strikes, and for this reason, these have stopped now, the minister told his audience.

"That means we have become successful in establishing economic activities as big important issue in our life and I am hopeful of getting its result this fiscal year. And my assumption is the growth rate set for next fiscal year will definitely be attained. We will certainly get 7.3 per cent growth next fiscal year."

Among others, Janata Bank managing director Abdus Salam, Bank Asia managing director Mehmood Husain, country chief executive officer of Standard Chartered Bank Abrar A Anwar and an awardee Mahtabur Rahman also spoke in the event.

 syful-islam@outlook.com 
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