Economy at a crossroads: Experts

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Staff Reporter :
The economy of the country is at a crossroads, said experts at a roundtable discussion at the ICAB council hall in the capital on Wednesday.

They stressed the need for adoption of coordinated monetary and fiscal policy to salvage the economy from total instability.

Experts also pointed out that despite some policy measures taken by the central bank in its monetary policy to deal with the current economic headwinds, especially inflationary pressure, the ongoing monetary policy will not play enough role to tame the inflation.

Speaking as a chief guest, former State Minister for Planning Dr. Shamsul Alam welcomed remittance inflows through the both formal and informal channels which helped reduce the impact of inflation in the rural areas and turned the pressure not as severe as it should have been.

He said the monetary policy, which stresses lowering inflation, will impede job creation and give a rise to unemployment.

Dr. Muhammad Abdul Mazid, a former chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), said that integrated effort with accountability should prevail if we want to rescue our economy from the status of ‘Hypo”.

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However, before the discussion on the current monetary policy, Dr. Mazid said the parliamentary related bodies should ask the central bank about the previous monetary initiatives.

Mostafizur Rahman, distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said 18 to 20 months ago, the main strength of our economy was indicators like high growth rate with modest inflation.

But the reality has changed. We are now dealing with the ‘’Impossible trinity” with galloping inflation, unemployment, and volatile exchange rate.

The distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) suggested to introduce the ‘shock therapy’ to bring the exchange rate under control which will increase exports as well as expatriate income will see a positive trend.

Marking the current challenges, Mohammed Forkan Uddin, ICAB President said that the economy is striving to restore the stability of the exchange rate and manage inflationary pressures while dealing with the lingering issue of high non-performing loans.

The increasing costs of essential imposts and the strain on the country’s foreign exchange reserves add further complexity to the domestic economic challenges, the ICAB President added. As panelists Ms. Ferdaus Ara Begum, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), Dr. Ashikur Rahman Senior economist PRI Policy Research Institute (PRI) and Dr. Jamaluddin Ahmed, ex-president ICAB also spoke at the event.