During a meeting at The Ritz-Carlton hotel on April 29th, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, praised the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for transforming Bangladesh into a model of development that has managed to maintain economic stability even after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Georgieva was leading an IMF delegation at the meeting. She expressed her admiration for the impressive progress Bangladesh has made in various sectors under Hasina’s dynamic leadership. According to Georgieva, leaders like Hasina are necessary for achieving prosperity in the face of obstacles. She also highlighted Bangladesh’s success in maintaining macroeconomic stability during the pandemic.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen stated that the IMF delegation led by Georgieva highly praised Bangladesh’s unprecedented advancement in various sectors, particularly in infrastructure development, widespread connectivity, and maintaining law and order. The IMF chief acknowledged that the development of Bangladesh was the result of long-term planning and initiatives taken by the government.
During the meeting, PM Hasina briefed the IMF chief on her government’s efforts to maintain the pace of overall development in the country, as well as steps taken to fight the adverse impact of climate change and ensure women’s empowerment. Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder added that the IMF has supported Bangladesh in maintaining macroeconomic stability over the last 14 years, and that the IMF will continue to provide such cooperation in the future.
Bangladesh has received a $4.7 billion loan from the IMF, approved in January of this year, to be disbursed in seven installments over the next 42 months. The loan will be used to stabilize Bangladesh’s macroeconomy, implement necessary reforms to build capacity for social and development spending, strengthen the financial sector, modernize policy frameworks, and address climate change. The average interest on the loan will be 2.2%. So far, Bangladesh has received the first tranche of $476.2 million.
Tipu Munshi Emphasizes Joint Effort for Commodity Price Control Amid Global Instabilities
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi underscored the pivotal role of controlling commodity prices, emphasizing its special importance in the upcoming general election as a key aspect of the Awami League’s manifesto. While addressing concerns about global challenges impacting price control, the minister pointed out the government’s successful efforts to maintain reasonable prices, acknowledging the limitations imposed by the global context.
Speaking at an event organized by the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection and Debate for Democracy at the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (BFDC), Tipu Munshi provided insights into the government’s commitment to ensuring affordable daily necessities for low-income individuals. He highlighted ongoing programs aligned with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directives, aimed at providing essential items at lower prices to mitigate the hardships faced by the economically vulnerable.
The minister acknowledged the abnormal increase in product prices globally due to factors such as the Russia-Ukraine war and the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tipu Munshi stressed the significance of a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors in effectively managing and controlling commodity prices, especially in the face of global uncertainties.
Concluding his remarks, Tipu Munshi emphasized the collective strength of consumers, stating that neither the government nor any syndicate holds ultimate power; rather, the united force of the common people is the most influential. He called on consumers to remain vigilant, asserting that no force can endure if the public remains united.
FBCCI Urges Govt to Extend Income Tax Return Deadline Amidst Implementation Challenges
In a letter signed by FBCCI president Mahbubul Alam, the trade body emphasized that taxpayers faced challenges due to the recent implementation of the new Income Tax Act-2023. The complexities introduced by the new tax regulations, coupled with delayed releases of income tax circulars, have created difficulties for individuals and businesses in preparing their tax returns within the stipulated timeframe.
The FBCCI’s letter further highlighted that various trade bodies have approached them, expressing concerns about the limited time provided for taxpayers to comply. Additionally, the ongoing political situation and the imminent general election have contributed to the constraints faced by taxpayers in meeting the November 30 deadline.
Under the provisions of the new Income Tax Act, there is a mandatory requirement for taxpayers to submit their income tax returns within the designated income tax day. The FBCCI, in light of Section 334 of the Income Tax Act-2023, has formally requested the NBR to extend the deadline for the submission of income tax returns until December 31, 2023.
The FBCCI’s appeal underscores the need for flexibility in recognizing the unique challenges posed by the current circumstances and aims to provide relief to taxpayers who require additional time to comply with the new tax regulations.
Singapore’s GDP growth in Q3 driven by construction and services sectors.
The third-quarter performance of Singapore’s economy exceeded expectations, registering a robust 1.1 percent expansion. This growth was propelled by the construction industry and the services sector, particularly tourism. The data from the trade ministry surpassed the anticipated 0.8 percent and marked a significant improvement from the preceding three months.
In response to the positive momentum, officials have revised the full-year forecast for 2023. They now anticipate the economy to grow by 1.0 percent, adjusting from the earlier estimated range of 0.5-1.5 percent. The decision is influenced by improved performance in the US economy since the previous forecast in August. However, officials cautioned that inflation-fighting interest rate hikes may pose challenges in the coming months.
The ministry projected that growth in the US and eurozone would moderate due to the cumulative effects of monetary policy tightening. Similarly, China’s growth is expected to decelerate further due to ongoing weaknesses in its property sector, domestic consumption, and subdued external demand. Despite sluggish global demand for electronics, one of Singapore’s major exports, there are indications that the downturn may be stabilizing.
Continued growth in tourism arrivals is anticipated to support aviation and tourism-related businesses. Taking into account the overall performance of Singapore’s economy in the first three quarters of the year, along with the latest external and domestic developments, the GDP growth forecast for 2023 has been narrowed to around 1.0 percent.
Looking ahead to 2024, the ministry foresees a growth range of 1.0-3.0 percent. However, potential downside risks include high inflation and an escalation of conflicts, such as those between Israel and Hamas or the war in Ukraine. The confluence of these factors could impact business and consumer sentiments, leading to a potential slowdown in global growth and trade.
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