• Friday, October 24, 2014

Govt assures IMF of continued reforms

Star Business Report

The government will continue to focus on fiscal prudence and debt management and work to bring discipline in the state-run commercial banks as part of its efforts to keep the economy on track.
Bangladesh recently reiterated the commitments to International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the global organisation reviewed the country's progress on promises before it releases the fourth instalment of its $985.66 million loan.
An IMF mission led by Rodrigo Cubero, deputy division chief in the Asia and Pacific Department of the lender, visited Dhaka between March 19 and April 2 to conduct the fourth review under the three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme.
In a statement posted on the IMF website on Monday, Cubero praised the government for ensuring sound macroeconomic policies in the face of difficult times.
"Throughout recent turbulent times, macroeconomic policies have been sound, the government's economic programme remains on track, and there has been good progress on structural reforms."
“As a result, the mission and the authorities have been able to reach a staff-level agreement on the quantitative targets and policies needed to complete the fourth review under the ECF arrangement," he said.

The agreement is subject to review by the management and the executive board of the IMF. The review is expected to be complete by May 2014, when about $140.5 million would be made available to Bangladesh.
Cubero said real GDP growth is expected to be below 6 percent for fiscal 2013-14 as unrest and uncertainty in the run-up to the January elections have taken a toll on the economy.
"Imports, remittance, tax collection, and credit growth have all slowed. Inflation has edged up, largely due to food supply disruptions."
The IMF official said exports, however, have proven resilient, helped by Bangladesh's growing share of the global textiles market. "Provided that political stability continues and uncertainty abates, growth should rise above 6 percent in fiscal 2014-15."
He said the government is committed to maintaining fiscal prudence in fiscal 2013-14 and fiscal 2014-15. "To support this goal, the government will be taking further steps to reduce tax exemptions, strengthen tax administration, and implement the new value added tax."
"On the expenditure side, public spending on programmes and projects with high social returns will continue to be prioritised."
He said building on recent reforms that strengthen the oversight of non-concessional debt contracting, Bangladesh would formulate a comprehensive debt management strategy and develop concrete guidelines to govern the issuance of sovereign guarantees.

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, April 09, 2014

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