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WB first wants to know about forex reserves

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World Bank has sought to know about Bangladesh’s current economic situation, especially the state of forex reserve and inflation, ahead of providing $250 million in budgetary support.

A 10-member delegation of the international lender held a meeting in this regard with State Minister for Planning Shamsul Alam at his office in Dhaka yesterday.

“They wanted to know especially what we think about our foreign exchange reserves, whether the reserves will increase or decrease. Moreover, they want to know about the overall state of the macroeconomy,” Alam told the media after the meeting.

The delegation also wanted to know the reasons behind the reserves falling below $48 billion and how Bangladesh can raise it, he said.

Besides, they wanted to know about the current status of inflation and steps taken to control it, he said.

Responding to the queries, Alam stated to have said, “We are facing challenges. But our situation is better than other South Asian countries.”

“Our inflation has not increased as much as it was supposed to increase following the international market,” he said.

“According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) data, food prices have increased by 50 per cent. And in the case of inflation, the government has taken many steps in order to control it. We have reduced many imports,” he added.

“In particular, our current account deficit and deficit in the balance of payments led to our reliance on reserves,” said Alam.

“But since July our overall condition is good. Because exports have increased by 25.31 per cent in the last two months since July. On the other hand, imports increased by 23 per cent,” he said.

Remittance flow through official channels has also increased, he said, adding, “We have been receiving remittances of $2 billion per month for the last two months. We have never had $2 billion together in a month in the past.”

Alam said they told the delegation that if this growth rate continued, remittance inflow would increase by about $25 billion by June 25.

“As exports are increasing, remittances are increasing and as we have been able to reduce import costs drastically, the overall performance of our economy is now in a relaxed state,” the state minister started to have told the delegation.

On the meeting’s talking points, Alam said they had also informed that Bangladesh has already reduced the value of the local taka several times to keep the exchange rate stable. “Now our economic situation is stable,” he added.

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