DHAKA, Nov 4, 2020 (BSS) – Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal today expressed his high optimism that the foreign currency reserve in the country would reach $50 billion within the next 14 months by December next year (2021).
“We expect that the foreign currency reserve will reach $50 billion within the next 14 months by December next year. So, we’re thinking in line of that on how to use our funds,” he said.
The Finance Minister was briefing reporters virtually after chairing the day’s two separate meetings on Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase.
Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves have hit a record $41.03 billion, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to official data.
When asked whether the government would go for using the surplus foreign currency reserve, Kamal said following the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for money across the globe has been substantially reduced.
“So, I think if there are some good projects like government sponsored projects, financing can be made (from forex reserve) in such projects. By doing this, our loan won’t increase side by side the funding will be made from local sources. This will also be utilized for the development of the country,” he said.
The Finance Minister, however, said that the decision in this regard will be taken finally by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as this is her ‘brain-child.’
He said when the foreign currency reserve of the country gradually reached $40 billion from $33 billion, the premier then suggested for utilizing funds from the reserve. “I hope the Prime Minister will think about this matter,”
Kamal also opined that if the foreign currency reserve could be utilized properly, then the country will be benefitted commercially.
Replying to a question, the Finance Minister said that international agencies like the World Bank and IMF eventually acknowledged the data and figures given by the government although initially they used to give their predictions in their own way.
“I think that our (projections, operations, working procedures) have a strong basis for which they also accept those,” added Kamal.
The Finance Minister said that during the COVID-pandemic, Bangladesh could make a turn around ahead of other countries across the world with much success; for which international organizations like the World Bank and IMF are acknowledging such progress of the country.
Considering the major economic indices, he said Bangladesh is much better off compared to other countries of the world without naming any country. “We hope that every country will be able to fare better under the circumstances. If other countries do well, then we’ll be encouraged to do much better,”
Kamal said the stimulus packages worth over $14 billion announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to offset the shock of COVID-19 in various sectors was unprecedented and none, even the hardcore critics and economists, could have thought that the premier would come up with such huge amount of stimulus packages.
Noting that Bangladesh has now made a turnaround, he said, “This Bangladesh is a capable Bangladesh, a successful Bangladesh. Bangladesh is now a country which can empower others and help others to dream. I think Bangladesh is now in an excellent position and the country won’t march backwards.” He added.