ICC Bangladesh strongly endorses the recent recommendation made by the Ministry of Finance to avoid hard loans and discourage the import of luxury goods as this may reduce pressure on declining foreign exchange reserves.
The business organisation also endorses recent austerity and regulatory measures taken by the government and the Bangladesh Bank aimed at curbing non-essential imports and suspending the implementation of projects with high import components.
“We believe this will send a positive signal to the market and the economy as well as curb inflation, said ICCB President Mahbubur Rahman, while presenting the ICCB Executive Board Report at its 27th Annual Council held in Dhaka on Sunday, said an ICC press release.
ICCB also support the demand of the businesses not to increase the power and gas rates, fuels prices as well reduce the corporate rate taxes during the upcoming budget as these will be helpful in containing the inflation, said ICCB president.
The report mentioned that over the last two years the pandemic has played a major role in shaping the global economy. Many sectors have found themselves in difficult situations and are still struggling and the countries dependent on those sectors are now quietly trying to get back up again. Despite the strong economic recovery in 2021, the financial difficulties are not over and may still cause an economic slowdown. In addition, many countries are faced with an increasing debt burden, high inflation and burning issue of the moment, and geopolitical tensions, which all play a major role.
The global economy is poised to be sent on yet another unpredictable route owing to the Russia-Ukraine war. This war is a major humanitarian crisis affecting millions of people and casting severe economic shock of uncertain duration and magnitude. The magnitude of the economic impact of the war is highly uncertain and will depend in part on the duration of the war and the policy responses. But it is clear that the war will result in a substantial near-term drag on global growth and significantly stronger inflationary pressures, the report added.
The Executive Board Report observed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine poses the most severe risk to developing Asia’s economic outlook. The war is already affecting economies in the region through sharp increases in prices for commodities such as oil and has heightened instability in global financial markets. COVID-19 continues to impact many parts of developing Asia, with some economies experiencing new surges in cases.
Bangladesh’s journey of 50 years since its independence in 1971 has been tremendous and to many it is a ‘land of impossible attainment’. The dominant narrative of Bangladesh has been of an economic miracle. Countries impressive score card is built on her success in terms of attaining a consistency high pace of economic growth and an impressive performance with regard to various development indicators, including those relating to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ICCB President said.
The success in economic growth has led to Bangladesh’s dual graduation: Graduation from a Low-Income Country (LIC) to a Lower Middle-Income Country (LMIC) in 2015, according to the World Bank criteria and eligibility for graduation from the group of Least Developed Country (LDC) to Developing Country (DC) status in 2018, according to United Nations criteria, the report added.
Mr Rahman said according to World Economic Forum, Bangladesh, since its founding in 1971, has emerged from overwhelming poverty to be proclaimed by The World Bank in 2020 as ‘a model for poverty reduction’. It achieved the highest cumulative GDP growth globally from 2010 to 2020 and is now on course to become a developed country by 2041.
Bangladesh, like other countries, faces the daunting challenge of fully recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic which has constrained economic activities and reversed some of the gains achieved in the last decade. We have to remember that worldwide, trade is a key tool of development that has led to globalisation. Various Research institutions & experienced economists citing post-graduation challenges, apprehend serious hurdles to its elevation if Bangladesh fails to devise smooth transition strategies for confronting the challenges posed by this transition.
Three major economic challenges, all tied to one another, as observed by experts include a persistently higher rate of inflation, the upward trend of the foreign exchange rate, and a deepening liquidity crunch in the banking sector.
Besides these challenges, the Russia-Ukraine war will also affect Bangladesh’s economy. Bangladesh is already feeling the heat of the Russia-Ukraine war on many fronts. If the war continues for a long period, the impact will intensify. The country is feeling the impact through reduction in exports and a rise in import bills. Being an oil-importing country, Bangladesh is already feeling the pressure through high import payments, the report cautioned.
The Council approved the Auditor’s Report of 2021 and appointed an auditor for the year 2022.
The Council Meeting was attended by ICC Bangladesh Vice President A. K. Azad; Apex Group Chairman Syed Manzur Elahi; Former Foreign Minister Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, M.P.; FBCCI President Md. Jashim Uddin; DCCI Acting President Arman Hoque; MCCI President Md Saiful Islam; FICCI President Naser Ezaz Bijoy; BIA President Sheikh Kabir Hossain; BTMA President Mohammad Ali Khokon; NCCI President Tahrin Aman. Among others, the meeting was also attended by Muhammad A. (Rumee) Ali, Chairman, ICC Bangladesh Banking Commission & Chairman, AB Bank Ltd.; Md. Arfan Ali, Managing Director, Bank Asia Limited; Syed Mahbubur Rahman, Managing Director & CEO, Mutual Trust Bank Limited; Mir Nasir Hossain, Managing Director, Mir Akhter Hossain Limited; Dr. Rubana Huq, Managing Director, The Mohammadi Limited; Md. Fazlul Hoque, Managing Director, Plummy Fashions Limited; Syed Ali Jowher Rizvi, Managing Director, Summit Alliance Port Limited; Mohammad Shamsul Islam, Managing Director, National Housing Finance and Investments Limited; Md. Abdul Haque, FCA, Managing Director, Eastland Insurance Company Limited; Mohammad Fazlul Azim, Managing Director, Azim Group; Kutubuddin Ahmed, Chairman, Envoy Garments Limited; Mr. Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury Managing Director, Evince Group, Sayeed Hossain Chowdhury, Chairman & CEO, HRC Syndicate Limited; Mohammad Samsul Alam Mallick, Managing Director, New Zealand Dairy Products Bangladesh Limited; Mr Asif A. Chowdhury, Managing Director, Bay Consolidation (Pvt.) Limited; K A M Majedur Rahman, Chief Executive Officer, A. K. Khan & Company Ltd.; Tanvir Ahmed, Managing Director, Green Textile Limited; Osama Taseer, Chairman, Four Wings Limited; Ahmed Shahin, Acting Managing Director, Eastern Bank Limited; Md. Habibullah Monju, Chief Financial Officer, Karnaphuli Fertilizer Co. Ltd. (KAFCO); Kaiser Ahmed Chowdhury, Chief Executive Officer, Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC); M. A. Rahim, Vice Chairman, DBL Group; Mr Sujeet Kumar Pai, Managing Director, Linde Bangladesh Limite, S. M. Mahbubul Karim, CEO, Nitol Insurance Co. Ltd. Mr. Deepal Abeywickrema, Managing Director, Nestle’ Bangladesh Limited, Mr. A.S.M. Mainuddin Monem, Managing Director, Abdul Monem Limited, Ms Sanjida Awal, Deputy Managing Director, Prime Textile Spinning Mills Limited and ICCB Secretary General Ataur Rahman.