Inflation in Bangladesh better than neighbours’
Posted on March 23rd, 2022

Courtesy The Daily Star

Inflation in Bangladesh is at a better level than that in nearby countries like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka alongside Southeast Asian countries, said Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal yesterday.

“You can compare with nearby countries, as well as more Southeast Asian countries, and see what our inflation is and what theirs is,” he told a press briefing following a meeting of the cabinet committee on government purchase.

His comment comes against the backdrop of a recent observation of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) about price hikes of commodities in Bangladesh being substantially higher than that in other countries.

“We do not have any problem in our monitoring system (to control the market). Problems are in the CPD’s system. We do not have any problems here,” said the minister.

Since its inception the CPD has been opposing government policies, he said.

“When our inflation rate was around 5 per cent or below 6 per cent, they told us to devalue our currencies. I had been in altercations with them for a long time. I did not make a mistake,” he said.

“Today you can ask them, if we had devalued the currency what would have happened and where would you (people) have been now? We didn’t do it,” said Kamal.

Only the CPD understands all economics and no one else does — these types of concepts are incorrect, he said.

“The CPD does understand and they have numerous contributions to the economy of this country. I acknowledge their contributions. I have a good relationship with them. I have no problem (personally),” he said.

“What I’m thinking isn’t always correct, and what they’re thinking isn’t always correct. We must make trade-offs,” he said.

However, the minister said the recent Russia-Ukraine war could end up affecting gas prices.

“What would you (journalists) have done if you were the finance minister? Did we know that the Russia-Ukraine war would happen?” he asked.

There are both uncertainties and certainties involving the economy, he said.

“When uncertainty arises, we call it ‘challenge areas’. When it comes, we have to find the way out,” he said.

Regarding the upcoming national budget, he said, “Nobody will be the loser…All will benefit, particularly businesses…We will make every effort to help them run their business smoothly.”

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also believes it and suggests we do so,” he said.

“We will give assistance for all small, large businesses through macroeconomic, monetary and fiscal policies so that they can be empowered more,” he said.

“We will give more benefits to all those businesses which will generate more employment. It will be a win-win situation,” he added. 

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