‘BD’s GDP likely to grow 7pc in FY18’

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Asian Development Bank Vice-President Wencai Zhang  has said that Bangladesh will be able to maintain over 7 percent GDP growth for the third straight year in fiscal 2017-18.

He expressed his thought at a media briefing at his agency’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar office in the capital on Thursday.

Citing the achievements in GDP growth in past two fiscal years, Zhang said the ADB forecast was that Bangladesh’s economy would continue to post over 7 percent growth in the current fiscal year.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the country achieved 7.11 percent GDP growth in 2015-16 and 7.28 percent in 2016-17.

The government has targeted 7.4 percent GDP growth this fiscal.

Zhang also reaffirmed ADB’s commitment to support Bangladesh on implementing SDGs.

He noted that the Manila-based donor will expand lending to $8 billion to Bangladesh during 2016-2020 from $5 billion in 2011-2015.

He pointed out unemployment as the biggest challenge for Bangladesh’s economy and advised emphasising small and medium enterprises or SMEs to tackle it.

In his remarks at the opening session of the Bangladesh Development Forum on Tuesday, he said it was necessary for the country to further boost investment from both public and private sectors to fulfil the country’s growth aspirations and move the economy to a higher growth trajectory.

During the visit, he also met, among others, Finance Minister AMA Muhith.

Zhang, along with Environment and Forests Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud and State Minister of Finance and Planning MA Mannan, launched a publication, ‘The Dhaka Water Services Turnaround’.

He visited Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority and met with ADB-assisted project beneficiaries before leaving Dhaka on Thursday.