Businesses should get opportunities to turn around before wholesale declaration of loan defaulters: FBCCI President
Mahbubul Alam, the new president of the country’s apex trade body, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), has already written to Bangladesh Bank asking for opportunities for businesses struggling to pay instalments against loans to turn around their fortunes before declaring them as loan defaulters. He also believes heightened inflation is a global issue, rather than unique to Bangladesh, as prices of daily essentials and energy prices have witnessed spikes across the world, including the USA and Europe. Bangladesh is trying to curb inflation, but the global supply chain disruption creates crises on the supply side, which is the cause of the price hike in some cases, he pointed out. Talking to UNB, Mahbubul Alam gave his opinions on different issues including inflation, the dollar crisis, export diversification, and the challenges in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Read: Mahbubul Alam takes charge as FBCCI president Alam was elected as the new president of the FBCCI as a leader of the Sammilito Oikko Parishad, for the 2023-25 tenure. The election was held on July 31 and he took charge as president on August 14. He also serves as President of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CCCI). Beyond his business acumen, Mahbubul Alam has received recognition in the form of CIP (Trade) and CIP (Industry) Awards from the Ministry of Commerce, Bangladesh. He is also a committed philanthropist, contributing to various social causes. Internationally, he is the recipient of a "Certificate of Merit" from the World Customs Organization. Alam said in the present economic reality, suppose an entrepreneur has 12 factories; among them one or two will have fallen into problems, but the other 10 would be running well. In this situation, if the business group was declared as defaulter, the entrepreneur would not run the other factories, and a large number of employees would lose their jobs. Read: Large defaulted loans have distressed domestic economy: Experts He acknowledged that in the last two years, a huge volume of loans went into default as many businessmen are not paying their instalments. The FBCCI president said, the federation (FBCCI) has already written a letter to the Bangladesh Bank (BB) to not declare any company as defaulter without understanding the reality. He suggested running the factories as an option to get a return. He opposed wholesale declaration of loan defaulters rather than giving opportunities to improve. Alam agreed that the businessmen have to return the loan money, otherwise the banks will be in trouble. Regarding the dollar crisis, the FBCCI president emphasised enhancing remittance earnings by sending more skilled human resources abroad, along with the unskilled manpower already being sent. Read more: Banks’ chief executives must bear responsibility to control defaulted loans: BB Governor He also urged the government to develop a system through which remittances could be sent easily to Bangladesh using legal channels from the Middle East and other areas of the world. Alam, the owner of Chattogram-based M/S Alam Trading, also emphasised enhancing the capacity of foreign missions of Bangladesh so that those missions can arrange trade fairs to display different traditions and non-traditional products as part of the export diversification campaign. Regarding SDG achievement, the FBCCI president said the capacity of domestic businesses must increase to compete with global manufacturers in the age of free trade. Alam said, “Despite different types of obstacles and unfavourable environment, the entrepreneurs of Bangladesh have survived and continued running their businesses even during the Covid-19 pandemic period.” Read more: BGMEA delegation meets Investment Board Chairman of Kurdistan regional government to discuss investment opportunities The FBCCI president emphasised massive research and innovation activities involving youths for Bangladeshi companies to cope with the requirements of the 4th Industrial Revolution, However, he doesn’t buy into the hype that Artificial Intelligence or machine learning will affect employment in Bangladesh, as he believes many jobs still exist that require a human hand. The FBCCI president also focused on increasing domestic rearing of chicken, pigeons, cows, and goats which will help to meet a large portion of the consumption demand for eggs, milk, and meat. It is not possible to supply readymade products, eggs, meat, milk, and other essential items to everyone, he said. Some people have to develop self-dependency when it comes to agricultural items, he pointed out. Read more: BGMEA, Erbil chamber of industry intend to collaborate in promoting bilateral trade
Inflation continues to persist at a high level in Bangladesh, affecting the lifestyles of common people severely as they struggle to survive on limited earnings in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Figures released on Sunday showed general inflation remained virtually unchanged at 9.69 percent on a point-to-point basis for the month of July, having been 9.74 percent in June, said the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). The Ministry of Finance and Bangladesh Bank (BB) have blamed the external factors for inflation while they failed to adopt the right fiscal and monetary policy measures, said economists. Read: General inflation virtually unchanged at 9.69 percent in July Talking with UNB former governor of the Bangladesh Bank Dr Atiur Rahman said Bangladesh could not go for adequate tightening of the monetary policy in time to rein in inflation while the US Federal Reserve continues to raise policy rates persistently. He said, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also been raising policy rates consistently, while agriculture production rising consistently to strengthen the supply side. The market imperfections caused by growth curtail the root cause of higher food inflation and other necessities. The depreciation of the Taka had also been raising imported inflation at these times. The rent-seeking on the roads by some quarters besides higher transport prices due to readjusted fuel prices may have also been fuelling inflation from the supply side, Dr Atiur said. Read: Bangladesh Bank working to normalise inflation and dollar crisis despite geopolitical challenges He suggested the ways out may be to further tighten monetary policy and reduce public expenditure to reduce public borrowing from the central bank to align fiscal policy along with tighter monetary policy. The competition commission and Consumer Protection Authority must wake up to break the curtails. The roads should also be made rent-free to facilitate smooth flows of goods and daily necessities. The exchange rate must be stabilized at a single rate and hurdles for small entrepreneurs in opening letters of credit with adequate dollar support could ensure smooth supplies of imported goods for consumption and raw materials for continued production of goods and services could also help stabilize the prices of the same. Read: Ex-governors optimistic MPS can claw back inflation, implementation the key The regulators should keep on communicating well in anchoring the inflation expectations so that inflation does not get embedded in consumer psychology. Dr Zahid Hussain, the former lead economist of the World Bank's Dhaka office, told UNB that no measure has been taken to rein the inflation so far. He said the reigning repo rate is not affecting the market, and the increase of 1.0 percent in interest rate from July is not making any impact on the money market. He pointed out that printing currency to meet government expenditures is also fuelling inflation. Read: CPD dismisses budget's projections on growth, inflation, revenue collection Dr Zahid said there is no control over pricing of essentials products in the market, and businesses are making hefty profits showing supply-side uncertainty in the wake of the foreign exchange crisis. Dr Ahsan H Mansur, former economist of IMF and executive director of Policy Research Institute (PRI), told UNB that the BB printed more currency (taka) in a single year than it had in the last 50 years, which brought additional inflationary pressure. Denying the BB claim of printing money as a regular matter that has no impact on inflation, Mansur said printing money against the US dollar, which commercial banks sold to the central bank is a different issue. Explaining the situation, Dr Mansur said despite the dollar crisis, the printing of high-speed money (printing currency) is continuing, which obviously brings impact on higher inflation, resulting in Bangladesh’s inflation rising while Sri Lanka and other Asian countries’ inflation is falling.
The parliament passed the Tk 7,61,785 crore national budget for FY 2023-24 -- with the goal of achieving 7.5 percent GDP growth rate and keeping annual inflation at around 6 percent. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal moved the Appropriations Bill 2023, seeking a budgetary allocation of Tk 11,10,840 crore which was passed by voice votes. READ: Budget will help to build Smart Bangladesh: Speakers Earlier today, the parliament passed the Finance Bill 2023 with some changes. Following the proposal mooted in the House by the Finance Ministry for the parliamentary approval of the appropriation of funds for meeting necessary development and non-development expenditures of the government, the ministers concerned placed justifications for the expenditure by their respective ministries through 59 demands for grants. READ: Proposed budget for FY 2023-24 fails to address macroeconomic challenges, says CPD Earlier, the parliament rejected, by voice votes, a total of only 503 cut-motions that stood in the name of opposition members on 59 demands for grants for different ministries. A total of 10 MPs, including from Jatiya Party and Gono Forum, submitted their cut-motions on the budget. They are: Kazi Firoze Rashid, Rustam Ali Farazi, Mujibul Huq, Fakhrul Imam, Pir Fazlur Rahman, Shamim Haider Patwari, Begum Rawshan Ara Mannan, Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, Mokabbir Khan, and Rezaul Karim Bablu. READ: It’s anti-people designed to plunder national wealth: BNP on National Budget for FY24 They were, however, allowed to participate in the discussion on Commerce Ministry and Health Services Division. Later, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury quickened the process of passing the demands for grants for different ministries without giving a lunch break. Opposition and independent MPs were present in the House when the Appropriation Bill was passed, and they did not raise objection to passing the bill. READ: Supplementary budget for outgoing fiscal passed in JS Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on June 1 placed a Tk 7,61,785 crore budget for Bangladesh for FY 2023–24, which is 15.2 percent of the GDP, with a philosophy of ensuring a hunger- and poverty-free, knowledge-based, and 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041. 7.5% GDP growth rate with an expectation of keeping annual inflation at around 6% The allocation for operating and other sectors is Tk 4,36,247 crore, while Tk 2,63,000 crore will go to the Annual Development Programme. The total revenue is estimated at Tk 5 lakh crore. Out of this, Tk 4,30,000 crore will be collected by the National Board of Revenue and Tk 70,000 crore from other sources. Read more: Unrealistic budget won’t help overcome economic crisis: Fakhrul The overall deficit in the proposed budget for FY 2023-24 will stand at Tk 2,61,785 crore, which is 5.2 percent of GDP. Out of the total deficit, Tk 1,55,395 crore will be financed from domestic sources and Tk 1,02,490 crore from external sources.
Think soaring costs were caused by the Ukraine war or supply chain snarls? You must be unaware of the "Beyoncé effect". The official start of the singer's worldwide tour in Sweden last month caused such a rush for hotel rooms and restaurant meals that it has reflected in the country's economic data, reports BBC. In May, Sweden reported higher-than-expected inflation of 9.7%. The surprise was due to rising hotel and restaurant costs, the report said. According to Michael Grahn, economist at Danske Bank, Beyoncé may have contributed to the increase in hotel costs. He believed she was also a driving force behind the unusually massive increase in recreation and cultural expenses. Also read: BTS on 1st Grammy nod: 'It’s hard to express in words' "I wouldn't ... blame Beyoncé for [the] high inflation, but her performance and global demand to see her perform in Sweden apparently added a little to it," he wrote in an email to the BBC. There is little doubt that the singer's first solo tour in seven years is a significant business event. According to one estimate, the tour may earn over £2 billion by the time it concludes in September. Airbnb reported that searches for accommodation in locations on the tour increased after the announcement. Many shows sold out in days, and resale prices skyrocketed, the BBC report also said. Also read: Grammy-winning duo Daft Punk break up after 28 years In the United Kingdom, 60,000 people arrived in Cardiff, including fans from Lebanon, the United States, and Australia. Demand for hotel rooms related to her London show was so high that several homeless families being accommodated in a hotel by the local authorities were reportedly kicked out to make space for the fans, it said. The Stockholm concerts, where Beyoncé performed before an audience of 46,000 over two nights, apparently drew fans from all over the world, particularly the United States, where a strong dollar against the krona made tickets in the Nordic country appear to be a relative bargain. Visit Stockholm termed the surge in travel to the city the "Beyoncé effect" in an email to the Washington Post last month. Sweden's inflation rate peaked in December at 12.3%. Official numbers showed that the rate was 9.7% last month, down from 10.5% in April. The financial markets had predicted around 9.4%. Also read: Beyoncé ties Alison Krauss’ record of 27 wins at Grammys Grahn told the BBC that it is "very rare" for one celebrity to have such an effect, adding that large football tournaments may have a similar effect. He stated on social media that the anticipated trends will return to normal in June.
Bangladesh's Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said that the national budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2023-24 was not based on the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). "Like in different countries, the IMF has come to Bangladesh and made some recommendations to help the economy. We took their prescriptions as per our needs, but did not follow them all in preparing the budget," he said while addressing a post-budget press conference at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city on Friday (June 2, 2023). He said the IMF is not helping the countries only by providing money, they also monitor the economy. This is good for the economy. Responding to a repeated number of questions on inflation and commodity price hike, the finance minister said the government is concerned about the rising trend in inflation. Read more: Unrealistic budget won’t help overcome economic crisis: Fakhrul "We're apprehensive about inflation, but it is not beyond our control. We cannot stop feeding the people," he said. He said the government is approaching in a flexible way to contain inflation. Through social safety-net programmes, the government has been providing food to poor people. "We're trying to identify the reasons for inflation and address those. If we need to give any concession, we will do that," he said. Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque, LGRD Minister Tajul Islam, Education Minister Dipu Moni, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Finance Secretary Fatima Yasmin, Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder, and National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Rahmatul Munim were among others also addressed on the occasion. Read more: CPD dismisses budget's projections on growth, inflation, revenue collection The Finance Minister claimed that the new budget was mainly focused on benefiting the poor people. "We have expanded our tax net so that more taxes could be collected. Everybody has to pay tax," he said, adding that like other budgets in the past this was also prepared targeting both the next election and the people. "We cannot separate the people or the election from our goal of the budget," he said. Responding to another question, he said that all the projections made in the previous budgets were implemented. Kamal said Bangladesh has been well placed in remittance earnings among the countries in the region. Read more: Budget 2023-24: Govt allocates Tk88,162 crore in education sector, up 8.2% After a downward trend, remittance earning is again increasing and we can meet five months of our import bill through our reserve. He said after some measures taken by the government, the inflow of remittance will gradually go up. At the press conference, with the request of the Finance Minister, Bangladesh Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder responded to a good number of questions, specially, on inflation, remittance and banking sector. He said that Bangladesh Bank will announce its monetary policy on June 19 where it will lay out the plan on containing inflation, and increasing remittance and reserve. He claimed that though the government's loan from the banking system is increasing, it will not push up inflation as the central bank is withdrawing more money from the market through selling dollars. Read more: Budget sets 7.5 percent annual economic growth, inflation at 6 percent
The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a think tank, in its traditional post-budget review on Friday (June 2, 2023) said the proposed national budget of Bangladesh for FY 2023-24 projected ambitious targets for both GDP growth and inflation, without putting forth any realistic measures to achieve them in light of global and domestic crises. The CPD said budget focused on increasing tax-GDP ratio, but the revenue growth target is not realistic, so the volume of deficit financing will ultimately widen. CPD Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun led the post-budget review, held at a hotel in Gulshan, and televised live on some tv channels. She said the budget has been placed at a time when the macroeconomic stability of Bangladesh has weakened significantly. REad: Proposed budget targets are challenging: FICCI “The macroeconomic stress is visible on lowering growth of revenue mobilisation and shrinking of fiscal space of current fiscal year (FY 2022-23), soaring borrowing from banks, higher price of daily essentials and decreasing foreign exchange reserve,” she added. The private credit growth projected to 15 percent in FY 2023-24 that was 14.1 percent in 2022-23. As of April 2023, private sector credit growth was 11.3 percent, she said. Replying to a query, CPD’s distinguished fellow professor Dr Mustafizur Rahman said the revenue growth projection in 2023-24, compared with actual revenue achievement of FY2022-23, wpi;d be a massive 39 percent, which is "absolutely ambitious" - perhaps even overambitious. The budget’s growth projection occurred based on a wrong concept, so multi sectoral problems would arrive in the implementing stage of the proposed budget. Read more: Budget 2023-24: Govt allocates Tk88,162 crore in education sector, up 8.2% Mustafiz expected a monetary policy reflecting fiscal policy in light of the budget and controlling measures of higher inflation. Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of CPD said the budget technically avoided the capital market development policy, which is very essential for such a developing economy. “Without establishing a realistic and sustainable capital market, investment financing cannot grow, the government incentive based capital market cannot play a role in new investment in the capital market,” he added. Towfiqul Islam Khan, Senior Research Fellow in CPD said curiously, no mention was found regarding the accumulation of external payments arrears or new forex reserve. REad: Finance minister unveils the country’s largest ever budget in Parliament Details about critical reforms, including shifting towards market-based dollar exchange rate and interest rate and adoption of periodic formula-based petroleum product prices, have not been explained in the budget speech, he said. The CPD projection said Bangladesh's proposed national budget of FY 2023-24 targets 15.5 percent growth will be around 39.7 percent growth target compared to the current budget achievement and Tk1.42 lakh crore is needed to be mobilized.
The proposed budget of Bangladesh in the fiscal year 2023-24 has set an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GPD) worth of 50.06 lakh crore with a 7.5 percent annual growth. The inflation target was set to 6 percent which is now 9.28 percent in the proposed budget. The 7.5 percent growth projection could be deemed as ambitious given the uncertainties in the global economy and various other challenges at home. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal explained his position on why he is expecting higher growth this time despite the economic pressures. Read more: Finance Minister unveils Tk 761,785 crore national budget “We expect to return to a higher growth trajectory and achieve a 7.5 percent GDP growth, by way of investing in the productive sectors and stimulating productivity and domestic demand,” he said. Kamal focused on investment in the 100 special economic zones and completing ongoing mega-projects to achieve the GDP target. In FY19, Bangladesh achieved a record 8.15 percent GDP growth. Then came the pandemic. The finance minister set a growth target of 8.2 percent in FY20, but the actual growth achieved was 3.45 percent, the lowest in several decades. The growth rate increased to 6.94 percent in FY21 after recovering from pandemic effects. The GDP growth further increased to 7.1 percent in FY22. Read more: Budget FY23-24: Focus should be on tackling macroeconomic challenges, says Dr Atiur Rahman
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday (May 31, 2023) said that the government is making every effort to keep Bangladesh's economy alive despite the global economic recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war. The prime minister said this while responding to a tabled question of Awami League MP elected from Chattogram MA Latif for PM’s question-answer session. She said the government has been able to quickly bring the country's economy to the pre-Covid high growth trend dealing with the recession, inflation and instability in the global economy caused by the pandemic and the war. Read more: President Erdogan and PM Hasina vow to take Dhaka-Ankara ties to new height “Amid the crisis over Covid, our growth in the financial year 2019-20 was 3.45 percent which was one of the highest in the world for that period,” she claimed. She said that due to the various steps taken by the government to boost the economy, the GDP growth in the financial year 2020-21 increased by 6.94 percent. “It further increased to 7.10 percent in FY 2021-22.” Hasina also highlighted various measures taken by the government to keep the economy of the government alive. Read more: PM calls for more Swedish investment as H&M boss calls on her These included government expenditure rationalisation, social protection, subsidies in electricity, energy and agriculture sectors, export incentives, rise in remittance inflow, monetary policy etc, she said. In response to the question of Jatiya Party MP elected from Dhaka Syed Abu Hossain, the prime minister highlighted the various steps taken by the government to control the prices of daily commodities and said as a result of the government's activities, it has been possible to control the prices of essentials and the poor people are benefiting from it. In response to the question of Jatiya Party MP elected from Pirojpur Rustam Ali Farazi, the she said that it will be possible to start rail traffic on the Dhaka-Mawa-Bhanga section of the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project by September 2023 and the Jessore section from June 2024. Read more: Work together to regain lost glory in science and technology: PM Hasina to Muslim community In response to reserved seat MP Kha Mamata Lovely's question, the prime minister said that 555,134 families have been rehabilitated through the Ashrayan project.
Bangladesh's upcoming national budget for FY23-24 should focus on macroeconomic challenges such as taming inflation, better revenue collection, rein in growing defaulted loans and IMF-suggested reforms. This was stated by Dr Atiur Rahman, former governor of Bangladesh Bank in conversion with UNB on the expectations from the budget to be placed in parliament on June 1. Dr Atiur said budget will certainly have to address a number of macroeconomic challenges. The foremost is, of course, the inflation which is still running high at more than nine percent. “Bringing this down to 6.5 percent in the next fiscal year may not be easy unless we go fast towards market-based solutions of major macroeconomic challenges arising out of administratively controlled indicators like rate of interest and foreign exchange rates,” he said. Read more: Tk337.60 crore budget for FY2023-24 approved for placing in Parliament Thanks to the IMF programme, the budget may encourage regulatory authorities to go for an ‘interest rate corridor’ and a ‘single exchange rate’ that are long overdue. If we could have followed this time- tested path of market-driven macroeconomic management many of the ongoing challenges would have been addressed by now, said the development economist. “Yet, it is better late than never,” he said adding “Of course, some sectors like agriculture, export and remittances would still need fiscal support and they must continue to get it.” This, he said, will be desired support to the real economy which can contribute towards easing supply-side constraints to reduce inflation to some extent. However, constraining demand pressure by raising interest rates still remains a major move to reduce inflation. “I hope the macroeconomic managers would like to take this prudent path in the next fiscal year without any hesitation.” Read more: Curbing inflation without destabilising macroeconomic situation presents challenge for budget: Selim Raihan He said the rich are currently enjoying huge advantages of negative rate of interest when adjusted against inflation rate may raise political economic hurdles against such a move. But the gains of long-term macroeconomic stability must guide the policy makers to overcome such pressures, said Dr. Atiur. “I think one must not look at IMF conditionalities negatively as the budget makers have also been flagging such reforms for quite some years. The local economists in general have also been arguing for a more balanced budget with manageable deficits,” he said. Bangladesh, of course, has done pretty well in maintaining budget deficits around five percent. This year it may go above five percent (5.3%) which is not that bad. “To maintain this level of budget deficit we need to raise our domestic resources by reforming our tax administration system through higher levels of digitalization and a more efficient tax system,” Dr Atiur said. Read more: Tk 75,000cr revenue shortfall to widen current fiscal’s budget deficit: CPD The banking system has been well digitised in the meantime. Why should the NBR not take advantage of this modernisation of the money market and replicate a fully digital revenue administration system?, he questioned. Since the inflation remains very high, the fiscal measures for higher levels of social security for the extreme poor and lower income groups in terms of higher food subsidies and support for agriculture must continue in the upcoming budget as well. Strategic support for digital infrastructures for making the economy smarter must also be the cornerstone of the next budget, he pointed out. “Simultaneously, we must keep our budget as cautious as possible to restrain the inflationary outlook,” he noted. Read more: Inflation, revenue shortfall, dollar crisis the major challenges for economy ahead of election-year budget
Curbing inflation without destabilising macroeconomic situation presents challenge for budget: Selim Raihan
Economist Dr Selim Raihan believes the National Budget of Bangladesh for the fiscal year 2023-24 is being presented at a difficult time, when it will be a challenge to devise policies to manage inflation while also maintaining a stable macroeconomic situation, Dr Selim Raihan is Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Dhaka, and the Executive Director of the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM). Talking with UNB on the upcoming budget, Dr Raihan pointed out two major challenges--controlling inflation and macroeconomic management for the upcoming budget. “Higher inflation for a long time creates instability in the domestic markets and lower-income people are affected severely,” he said. Read more: No new pay scale, govt employees to get 20% dearness allowance in new budget The government’s measures to cut inflation have not proved effective, so new measures to reduce inflation need to be included in the budget, he opined. Dr Raihan said the monetary policy is not working to curb inflation as there is a mismatch with interest rates - the continued delay in withdrawing the interest rate caps also prolongs inflation. Besides, a big challenge of domestic market management is that government agencies could not implement effective market management against monopoly businesses. As a result, prices of many essential items are higher in the domestic market relative to the global market. Notably, prices of some items increase in Bangladesh at the same time that there is a downward trend in the international market, said Dr Raihan. Read more: No let-up in safe drinking water scarcity in Khulna’s Dacop Regarding macroeconomic management, he said reducing the defaulted loans and achieving the revenue collection target are big factors for stability. Forex reserves management and foreign exchange rate fluctuation also worked for instability of the macroeconomic situation, which are required to make it stable, he said. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave conditions for reducing defaulted loans to a desired level, but the latest update revealed no headway in that regard, which Dr Raihan said was alarming. The IMF’s desired target of increasing the tax GDP ratio by 0.5 percent each year, till the 2025-26 fiscal, is also proving a challenge for the National Board of Revenue. Read more: Inflation, revenue shortfall, dollar crisis the major challenges for economy ahead of election-year budget The SANEM chief said although the revenue collection target increased every year in the budget, in the absence of any coherent plan and institutional capacity-building initiatives for NBR, there is almost no progress towards attaining those targets. In fact, the revenue collection shortfall keeps getting wider, he pointed out. Dr Raihan suggested joint initiatives of Bangladesh Bank and the Ministry of Finance to reduce the defaulted loans, saying the central bank alone cannot handle the issue. He also sought the central bank’s effective measures to ensure good governance in the banking sector, averting the pressure of any influential group. Dr Raihan also suggested increasing allocation and coverage under the social safety net, to ease the woes of vulnerable groups. Read more: Bank default loans surge to Tk1.31 lakh crore: BB