BSS-56 Kamal seeks continued support from WB to move forward economy

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BSS-56

KAMAL-VIRTUAL MEETING

Kamal seeks continued support from WB to move forward economy

DHAKA, Oct 21, 2020 (BSS) – Seeking continued support from the World Bank to move forward the country’s economy, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal today urged the lending agency to give a token of recognition and appreciation for the Bangladeshis who contribute to the total turnaround of the country’s economy.

“It would have been a wonderful event for me in my life as a citizen of Bangladesh had there been a token of recognition and appreciation by World Bank Group for the hard working 165 million Bangladeshi people who contribute to the total turn around in the economy of Bangladesh,” he said.

The Finance Minister was addressing a virtual round table meeting today as part of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF.

World Bank’s South Asia region Vice President Hartwig Schafer, Acting Finance Minister of Afghanistan Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, Bhutanese Finance Minister Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, Indian Women and Children Development Minister Smriti Irani, the Maldives Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer, Nepal’s Prime Minister’s special economic adviser Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada, Special assistant to the Pakistan’s Prime Minister Sania Nishtar and Sri Lankan Education Minister GL Peiris, attended the virtual round table meeting, said a Finance Ministry press release.

Mentioning that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has always appreciated the development partners including World Bank’s good works and contribution to Bangladesh’s economy, Kamal said, “In line with that, I solicit continued support of World Bank to move forward.”

Considering the Covid-19 impacts, the Finance Minister said the World Bank and others projected that the amount of inward remittance would be decreased worldwide including Bangladesh. “However, I am glad to share with you that the scenario is much more optimistic for us,” he said.

Kamal said the inward remittances in Bangladesh always showed upward trend and recently it has been accelerated. “We have received highest ever remittance amounting $18.2 billion in 2019-2020. During the first quarter of the current fiscal year (2020-2021), inward remittances recorded $6.71 billion, which is 49% higher than the same quarter of the previous year, thanks to the 2% direct cash incentive policy of our government. Remittances didn’t decrease at all, rather increased enormously.”

The Finance Minister mentioned that approximately 11.6 million Bangladeshi citizens are now working worldwide in different fields in low to high end salaried jobs, micro, small and medium businesses.

Due to the Covid-19, Kamal informed that 1,95,698 Bangladeshi expatriates returned home by October 15, 2020 and at the same period 2,84,000 expatriates returned abroad which is 26% higher than the same period last year.

“This indicates that we don’t need to be much worried for inward remittance. Our government has been supporting the returnee expatriates to send them abroad back with jobs within the shortest possible time,” he added.

The Finance Minister mentioned that the government has arranged social protection programmes including food stamp of $1.3 million for the returnee expatriates during the COVID-19 holidays in April and May. The returnees, who lost jobs in abroad are enlisted for $83 million budgetary rehabilitation programme and they are also included in other social protection schemes, he informed.

Kamal said in the current fiscal year, the government allocated Taka 2,000 crore, equivalent to $240 million for a specific social protection targeting the future potential expatriate workers.

He said employment generation programmes will be implemented through four specialized banks. The objective of the programme is to facilitate the potential workers to get overseas job smoothly in a faster way for overcoming the COVID-19 shock.

BSS/GM/RY/21:08hrs