The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has cut down the projected GDP growth rate of Bangladesh by at least 1 percent from its earlier figure of 6.8 percent for the FY 2020-21. The reduction in the projected figure is attributed to the recent surge in pandemic and lockdowns to control the spread of the Coronavirus. However, the growth rate is projected to pick up at 6.8 percent in 2021-22 and 7.2 percent in 2022-23, said the ADB in its latest Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021 released on Wednesday.
Country Director of ADB Manmohan Parkash said that the government of Bangladesh managed the first wave of COVID 19 in 2020 well with stimulus packages and other economic policies. Future economic growth will depend on recovery in domestic economic activities boosted by the implementation of the stimulus packages, rising inflow of remittances and rebound in the global trade.
The report noted that foreign remittances from overseas workers of Bangladesh showed a robust growth of over 35 percent in the first nine months of the FY 2021 due to incentives given by the government. The FY 2020 also marked a growth rate of 10.9 percent in foreign remittance coming in the country with a total inflow of over USD 18.2 billion.
Pointing out the very low level of expenditure on public health at 0.7 percent of GDP in 2019, the ADO 2021 points out that the move towards universal health care is critical to ensure inclusive and sustainable development. It says health care in Bangladesh can improve with more public funding and effective administration.
ADB has already provided $650 million in loans and $7.23 million in grants for managing socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting quick recovery to Bangladesh. ADB is also processing two program loans of $500 million each and a $940 million loan for the Government’s COVID-19 vaccine program. For 2021-2023, ADB has programmed a $5.9 billion firm and $5.2 billion standby project assistance for Bangladesh.