Staff Correspondent: Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal yesterday urged the World Bank Group and the IMF to stand beside Bangladesh with greater support considering the crisis in the wake of global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“It’s not possible for a country to singlehandedly face this crisis (COVID-19). So, we urge the World Bank Group and the IMF to stand beside us to face this crisis. It’s our ardent request to the World Bank Group and the IMF to come up with greater support to us considering this risky situation.” he said.
The finance minister said this while addressing a video conference with the World Bank and IMF headquarters on the latest coronavirus situation from the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Banglanagar area, said a finance ministry press release.
NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, Financial Institution Division Senior Secretary Md Ashadul Islam, Finance Division Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder and ERD Secretary Fatima Yasmin, were present, among others on the occasion. Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Fazle Kabir joined the press conference from his office.
Highlighting the coronavirus situation in the country, the finance minister said the COVID-19 spreads fast while the countries across the world are enforcing lockdown, shutdown and disruption of the communication system to stop spreading of this virus which is putting negative impact on the global economy without any doubt.
He said the global share markets have already witnessed around 28-34 percent fall while the global economic growth could came down to 1.5 percent if this crisis persists long.
“We’ve also started feeling its impact (COVID-19). We’re concerned that the COVID-19 crisis could impact our economy in a multifaceted way,” Kamal said, adding that the RMG sector, the main export-oriented sector of the country, is now passing hard time and also being affected due to the shutdown in the USA, the UK and Europe.
The finance minister mentioned that the country’s infrastructure sector projects could experience lengthiness due to the impact of this deadly virus while it would also put a negative impact on the inward remittance flow since many expatriates have already returned home following this outbreak.
Mentioning that the country had attained 8.15 percent growth in the last fiscal year (FY19) which was the highest among the Asia-Pacific region while it was poised to attain 8.20 percent growth in the current fiscal year (FY20), he said unfortunately Bangladesh could lose its 1.1 percent of GDP growth due to COVID-19 spread, citing an analysis of the ADB.
The finance minister also said when Bangladesh is poised to become a higher mid-income country and to attain the SDGs by 2030, the whole of the world including Bangladesh is facing the negative impact of this virus.
The World Bank has already announced a $14 billion global fund while the IMF $50 billion global fund to face the coronavirus and Bangladesh is expecting a big chunk from this global fund to face the economic crisis in the coming days due to this virus.