Bangladesh Finance Minister
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said that Bangladesh has one of the lowest debt-to-GDP ratios in the world. He said Bangladesh has never failed to pay domestic and foreign debt. Kamal said this while attending the annual meeting at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters in Manila on Tuesday, according to a press release of the finance ministry. Read: Market-based foreign exchange rate may be introduced soon: Finance Minister The finance minister also attended a bilateral meeting with president of ADB, Masatsugu Asakawa. The finance minister said that currently, the cumulative financing of ADB in Bangladesh stands at $27.6 billion. Out of this, total outstanding amount is $11.69 billion. Kamal thanked ADB's assistance in developing member countries, including Bangladesh, in recovering from economic and health crises in Asia and the Pacific region by providing quick support for procuring Covid-19 vaccine. Read: No IMF proposal received to raise power, petroleum prices: Finance Minister It is very important that the Bangladesh-ADB Country Partnership Strategy (2021-2025) is aligned with Bangladesh's national development goals. The finance minister expected $12-15 billion in loan support from ADB over the next five years, which is crucial for Bangladesh’s achieving development milestones.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said that the government is considering introducing market-based foreign currency exchange rates. “We’re contemplating going for market-based foreign exchange rates. Today or tomorrow, we’ll have to go for market-based trading of foreign currency,” he told reporters while briefing on the outcomes of two consecutive meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) and Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP) on Wednesday. Read: No IMF proposal received to raise power, petroleum prices: Finance Minister The finance minister’s remarks came against the backdrop of the recent instability in the foreign currency market where the US dollar’s exchange rate recently went up to Tk 119 from Tk 85. Bangladesh Bank recently fixed exchange rate at Tk 95 while in private banks dollar was being traded at TK 108. Responding to a question on re-fixing the bank lending rates, he dismissed the possibility of any upward or downward change in lending rates against the existing rates of 6-9 percent interest on deposits and bank loans. Read: Nothing wrong in economy as Bangladesh seeks IMF loan: Finance Minister “The current interest rates between 6-9 percent are working well,” he said. He said many countries pursue the path of increasing interest rates to contain inflation. “But it is very tough in countries like Bangladesh to contain inflation by increasing or decreasing interest rate,” he said, adding, the central bank here does the job in two ways – by taking fiscal measures and monitoring the market. About foreign exchange reserve, he said the foreign currency reserve is in good state. Read Chinese ambassador meets Bangladesh finance minister “Our remittance is increasing while export is rising and import is decreasing”, he said, claiming that there is no crisis in the foreign currency market. The foreign exchange reserve will again go up to $48 billion soon. Responding to another question on import of Russian fuel in roubles, the finance minister said work is in progress in this regard. “But in such a case, Bangladesh will have to do it through currency swap. Russia has to accept our currency first,” he said. Read No IMF proposal received to raise power, petroleum prices: Finance Minister