UN body expresses optimism on Bangladeshi economy

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​Dhaka, April 28 (IANS) A UN body on Thursday expressed its optimism about Bangladesh's potential though it trimmed its growth forecast for 2015-16 fiscal (July 2015-June 2016) at 6.8 percent.

UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) made the projection in its latest report it published in Dhaka, Xinhua news agency reported.

"The outlook for growth remains optimistic, with growth being projected at 6.8 percent in 2016 and seven percent in 2017," said the report, titled "Economic and Social Survey of Asia and The Pacific 2016".

According to the report, Bangladesh has sustained a robust and resilient economic growth rate of more than six percent in the past several years.

In 2015, output grew by 6.5 percent, up from 6.1 percent in 2014, despite political turmoil in the third quarter, it said.

Inflation dropped slightly to 6.4 percent in 2015 amid a vigilant monetary policy and a stable exchange rate that enabled pass-through of lower global food prices.

In contrary to the government's growth expectation of beyond seven percent for the current fiscal year 2015-2016, earlier Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank (WB) have also projected 6.7 percent and 6.8 percent GDP growth for Bangladesh in the current fiscal year respectively.

The Bangladesh government in June last year passed a record $37.83 billion national budget, targeting an economic growth of seven percent.

Citing the initial data prepared by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Finance Minister AMA Muhith Wednesday said: "It's certain that the country's GDP (growth) will exceed seven percent in the current fiscal year."

Despite strong growth performance in past years, several medium-term development challenges remain, the UNESCAP report said.

Challenges include, among others, the need to reduce infrastructure and energy shortages, broaden the export base beyond garments and ensure decent work conditions and labour rights.​

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