Bangladesh’s economy was able to rebound in 2021: Experts


Country’s two leading economists and a business community leader today observed that Bangladesh’s economy has been able to rebound quickly in the outgoing year 2021 from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They hoped that the economy will be better in the incoming year 2022, though concern persists over the Omicron variant of the virus which has already infected a few people in Bangladesh.

They observed that Bangladesh has shown enough successes in macroeconomic management although the COVID-19 has put a big toll on the global economy and thus disrupted the lives and livelihood of people.

The economists and business leaders said that Bangladesh has been able to maintain the growth trend as well as the development activities.

Talking to BSS, Bangladesh Palli Karma Shahayak Foundation (PKSF) Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that the biggest good news for Bangladesh in 2021 was that the final recommendation of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to graduate from the Least Developed Country (LDC) category.

The recommendation is the recognition of the economic and social prosperity of Bangladesh during the last 50 years,” he added.

He said the agricultural sector has remained active despite the Covid situation. Former Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman said despite the Covid situation, Bangladesh’s economy is on the right track.

“It can be said that our economy was stronger in 2021 than in 2020. The year just ended was very promising in terms of growth. Even in the previous year, when the world economy contracted at the rate of three and a half percent, our economy grew at around five percent,” he added.

In the outgoing fiscal year (2020-21), Bangladesh achieved 5.47 percent GDP growth. In the current fiscal year 2021-22, the growth target has been set at 7.2 percent.

Atiur Rahman said livelihood opportunities in Bangladesh are also increasing in Corona and the speed of the recovery process is also increasing.

“If the new type of corona ‘Omicron’ wave is not very strong, then the recovery of the economy of Bangladesh will continue unabated. And because of that, the pace of vaccination has to be maintained,” he added.

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President Rizwan Rahman said the onslaught of coronavirus pandemic plunged the GDP growth to 5.47 percent in fiscal 2020-21 while almost all developed and developing economies recorded negative.

“Per capita, GNI has increased to US$2,554 in 2021. This positive growth amidst the pandemic time recognized Bangladesh as one of the top economic performers,” he added.

He said the macroeconomic trend of the country shows the optimism of V-shaped rapid recovery from vulnerability.

“Our resilient Private sector has been playing pivotal roles in economic recovery management. It has always been a major contributor to the developmental journey of Bangladesh,” he added.

Despite Covid-19, the foreign exchange reserves set new records as the expatriate income increased. In August, it surpassed $48 billion. And the news of relief in export earnings was throughout the year, in the fiscal year 2020-21, the growth of export earnings was over 15 percent.

Besides, due to the decrease in the incidence of the corona at the end of this year, the tourist spots of the country including Cox’s Bazar have been seen overflowing with tourists. As a result, the tourism sector has started to turn around after a two-year hiatus.

The country’s capital market passed yet another eventful year with a 25 percent return in the core index of the main bourse.

During the outgoing year 2021, the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) also posted a decade-high daily turnover value along with a rise in market cap to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio.

The daily turnover, an important gauge, stood at Tk 14.75 billion on an average in 2021, up by 127 percent year-on-year.

The DSE witnessed the second highest-ever turnover worth above Tk 3.54 trillion, posted in 240 trading sessions – executed in the outgoing year.

The DSE market capitalization to GDP ratio stood at 18.01 percent, while the market P/E (price-earnings) stood at 17.58 at the end of 2021.