Single-month shipments in May declined by about 62 percent to $1.4 billion due to Covid-19 fallout
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that Bangladesh's export sector will return to its normal state if a coronavirus vaccine comes here between October and November.
She was speaking while taking part in the general discussion on the budget on Monday as leader of the House at the eighth session of the eleventh parliament.
She said that the vaccine is expected to come to the market in October- November next. "If so, the lifestyle of people will soon get back to normal in Europe and America, and Bangladesh's export earnings will return to the previous level."
As the Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted the global supply chain severely, Bangladesh's single-month shipments in May this year declined by about 62 percent to $1.4 billion.
The country fetched $3.81 billion with a 14.78 percent growth in May 2019, which was the highest single-month receipt in history, riding on the higher shipment of apparels.
Export earnings during July-May of the current fiscal year declined by 18 percent to $30.95 billion, which was $37.75 billion a year ago, according to updated data from the state-run Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
In parliament, the prime minister further said fuel prices are on a gradual rise in the international market. "So, the present crisis of Bangladesh regarding overseas employment and remittance will go away."
She expressed her firm hope that Bangladesh will resume its development journey by successfully overcoming the economic impacts caused by Covid-19.
While speaking on the budget, the leader of the House said her government is determined to implement the national budget for the coming 2020-21 fiscal year despite the coronavirus hurdles as many analysts feared it could be a tough job because of continued onslaughts by Covid-19.
Describing the reasons behind placing an ambitious national budget with an 8.2 percent GDP growth target, Hasina hoped that her government will be able to implement it as it did in previous fiscal years.
"We never failed to implement budgets in the past, and Insha'Allah, we will not fail in the future either. We never suffer from a sense of frustration. We always march forward with a specific work plan, fixing a goal," she said.
The premier said her government would make its way ahead towards building a "Sonar Bangla" free of poverty and hunger as dreamt of by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The implementation of the Tk5.68 lakh crore "balanced budget" would be part of that endeavour.
"I personally believe a proper plan and due courage will make it possible. Frustration never holds us back," she said.
The prime minister said her government always goes ahead with a goal and specific work plan, "but, at times, we have to reset the plan considering the situation and necessity as well", noting that many people say the government is very optimistic about the budget.
"We are hopeful that there will be a recovery from this situation. So, we have taken this step considering it. If there is no end to the Covid-19(situation), we may not be able to implement it. But I think we should have preparations. So, we have placed this ambitious budget. We have placed it as we have a desire to improve the living standards of people."
Sheikh Hasina mentioned that four assumptions had been taken into account while fixing the 8.2 percent GDP growth target in the budget, placed amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We hope the world economy as well as the domestic one will come out gradually from the (adverse) impacts of Covid-19 in 2021. The Bangladesh economy will return to its previous condition. So, we have estimated an 8.2 percent GDP growth in the budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year," she said.
Hasina said the government has taken necessary measures to maintain stability in macro economy and keep a low inflation rate.
Elaborating on the four assumptions considered in estimation of an 8.2 percent GDP growth, she said though economic activities had been hindered, there was no damage to economic infrastructures of the sort that happens during natural disasters or wars.
Besides, she said, supply and demand in the domestic market will increase as public expenditure will go up in order to create jobs and increase the incomes of people. "And if the stimulus packages announced by the government are implemented, the production and the supply chain will get normal again."
The premier said in FY21, a Tk5.68 lakh crore budget has been proposed in parliament by the finance minister given the requirement to meet temporary needs in the health sector as well as overcoming the damage in various sectors of the economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
She said her government has taken multifaceted measures to overcome the crisis arising from the Covid-19 pandemic since its outbreak alongside formulating an overall work plan to offset the adverse impact on the country's economy.
"We have implemented some of the work quickly, and are taking some short- and long-term initiatives to overcome the hurdles following the coronavirus pandemic," she said.
Hasina continued, "The work plan has four main strategic aspects that include an increase in government expenditure, formulation of financial assistance packages, expansion of areas of social safety net programmes, and finally, increase in supply of money in the market."
The prime minister said the government has already announced 19 stimulus packages of Tk103,117 crore in a planned way and well before those were required, with the aim of bringing their benefits to vast numbers of people.
"The implementation of the packages has led to as many as 5.70 crore people getting their benefits directly. If the 19 stimulus packages are implemented properly, 12.55 crore people will derive advantages from them while 1.60 crore jobs will be protected and generated as well," she added.