PM expects 6.5pc GDP growth


BSS, Sangsad Bhaban :
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is optimistic about a 6.5 percent growth rate in the current fiscal (2013-14) as the government has taken a number of positive steps, including incentives for the export-oriented sectors and infusing dynamism in the growth-driven sectors to maintain an upward trend in the overall economy.
“Despite hartals-blockade over the last three months, we’re hopeful that the economic growth in the fiscal year 2013-14 will be around 6.5 percent after analyzing the macroeconomic indices of the first six months of the fiscal year,” she told the Jatiya Sangsad while replying to a question from independent MP Haji Md Selim here on Wednesday.
She said rationality of achieving 6.5 growth has been found in the comparative analysis between the macroeconomic indices of the first six months of the current fiscal year and the last fiscal year (2012-013).
Most of the economic indices are on rising trend despite BNP-Jamaat’s destructive activities such as hartals, blockade, launching attacks on rail-roads, power stations and demolishing of culverts-bridges, the Prime Minister said and thanked the people, especially farmers-workers, for their hard work and dedication to keep the pace of economic growth against these adversities.
The Prime Minister said formation of the new government has helped create a trade and commerce friendly environment in the country. She assured that the government would continue its support for further expansion of trade and commerce in the country.
Hartals-blockade in the run up to the January 5 parliament elections took a heavy toll in the economy as such destructive activities severely affected the country’s rail-road communications, the Prime Minister said, adding that the unrest affected transportation of industrial-consumer goods that ultimately pushed up the prices at the consumers-level.
The prime minister said the political unrest also affected revenue collection and slowed down the use of foreign assistance. Export oriented apparel sector was the worst affected one, she added.
As the agriculture, industry and export-oriented sectors were the worst affected ones, the government is considering some financial incentives at production and export levels to help the sectors coup with the losses. The government has already initiated talks with the representatives of different sectors to frame strategy in this regard, she added.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has planned to complete construction of important infrastructures under the Annual Development Programme (ADP) on priority basis. The government will continue development activities in power and energy sector to ensure power production and its steady supply, she added.
While focusing on the macroeconomic situation, the Prime Minister said average annual inflation came down to 7.5 percent in December 2013 from 8.7 percent in December 2012. Tax-revenue collection has been increased by 12.2 percent to Tk 50,338 crore in July-December period of the current fiscal year which was Tk 44,864 crore in 2012-13 fiscal year, she added.
Despite the opposition-backed destructive political programmes, the government has been able to implement 27 percent of the ADP, she said, adding that export earnings witnessed a rise by 12.6 percent to US$14.7 billion in the first six-month of the current fiscal year.
The Prime Minister said the growth of credit flow to the private sector witnessed a rise and stood at 4.5 percent in July-November period of 2013 from 4.2 percent in the July-November 2012.
Replying to a supplementary question from independent MP Rostam Ali Farazi, Sheikh Hasina said the government has increased power generation capacity to 11,000-megawatt in 2013 from 3200 MW in 2008. The government has already taken steps to set up a number of coal-fired power plants, she said, adding that the government has taken programme to also improve the transmission-distribution system of electricity.
Responding to another question from treasury bench member Golam Dastogir Gazi, the Prime Minister said steps have already been taken to rationsalise the bank interest rates. She urged the entrepreneurs to properly use the loans they take from banks in the productive fields to the greater interest of the country’s economy.