ADB asks Bangladesh to prepare for recession risk
ADB Deputy Director General for South Asia Frederick Roche said yesterday Bangladesh needs to begin preparation by now to face any worst situation of the global economic recession, which has gone beyond predictions by the world's top economists.
“Bangladesh's macro-economy has so far remained immune from the impact of recession. But, of course, time is now to begin preparation,” the visiting official of Asian Development Bank told reporters, after a meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at the finance ministry.
The last caretaker government had discussions with the major stakeholders, who are vulnerable to the recession, and the then Finance Adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam feared the recession would affect Bangladesh in fiscal 2009-10 if the global recession deepens.
The new government continued the discussion and immediately after assuming office formed a high-powered committee to monitor the emerging situation and take necessary measures to face the challenges.
After a meeting with the frozen food exporters on Thursday, Muhith told reporters that he was planning to call a meeting of the committee in the first week of March.
Asked if the country's safeguard measures were falling behind the pace of recession's impact on the economy, he said: “I don't think so. It (preparation) is not being delayed in that sense.”
The minister said the frozen food sector has so far become the worst victim of the recession while leather, jute, jute goods and apparel sectors were also affected by the recession.
During his four-day visit to Bangladesh that ended yesterday, the ADB senior executive had a series of meetings with ministers, Bangladesh Bank Governor and senior officials of the ministries receiving ADB assistance, and exchanged views on issues including macro-economy, priorities of the new government and emerging situation of the global recession.
“The situation of Bangladesh would remain quite manageable until this fiscal year (2008-09). But, if the recession deepens further, the situation could worsen in the next fiscal year,” Roche said, stressing the need for careful attention to exports, remittance, external sectors and budgetary measures.
The ADB official said the major challenge for Bangladesh in the changed scenario is to protect the poor through sustained social safety net programmes and emergency response to food crisis.