Import expenditure is increasing in line with the export income. Record after record.
Last September, Bangladesh imported a variety of goods worth crore 600 billion (7 billion), which is 50.36 percent more than in September last year. At the current exchange rate (85 tk 70 poisa per dollar), this amount is 60 thousand crore TK.
Never before in the history of Bangladesh has so much money been spent on importing goods in one month. As soon as the situation in Corona became normal, the wind began to blow. The demand for dollars is increasing. This has put a strain on the foreign exchange reserves. Rising dollar prices; The value of money is decreasing.
Earlier in August, imports stood at ৮ 657.33 billion (৮ 6.56 billion), the highest ever in a single month.
Economists and business leaders say the increase in imports is good for the country's economy. However, they advised the government to focus on increasing remittances as well as exports to reduce the pressure on the reserves.
The data released by Bangladesh Bank on Thursday shows that in the first quarter of the current 2021-22 fiscal year, i.e. July-September, goods worth 1,62 crore were imported. This figure is 46.56 percent more than the same period last year.
In these three months of the fiscal year 2020-21, Bangladesh imported goods worth 1,266.5 million (12.6 billion), which was 11.43 percent less than the July-September of the previous year (2019-20).
Imports fell sharply in the first half of the last fiscal year due to a drop in imports due to the Corona epidemic. But in other countries, including Europe and America, the situation began to return to normal and imports began to rise in the second half. Finally, the fiscal year 2020-21 ended with a record import cost of 65.70 billion.
From the beginning of the current fiscal year 2021-22, the incidence of corona in Bangladesh also started to become normal. The economic activities of the country were in full swing. With that, imports continue to increase. Now it is being recorded every month.
Considering the current situation, Zayed Bakht, a researcher at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) and chairman of the state-owned Agrani Bank, sees the increase in imports as a 'boon' for the country's economy.
He told NewsBangla, "Economic activities have been conducted in the country for more than a year and a half during the Corona epidemic." Imports declined at first but increased later. Now the situation has returned to normal. So imports are rising. It's good for the economy.
‘Work on big projects including Padma Bridge, Bangabandhu Tunnel, Metro Rail is going on. Large sums of money are being spent on importing necessary equipment for all these projects. Besides, prices of fuel oil, food and other products have also gone up in the world market.
"For these reasons, the cost of imports exceeded ড 75 billion for the first time in the last fiscal year. This time it seems to increase further.
‘There is nothing to worry about. After Corona, the demand for many products in the world market has suddenly increased. That is why exports are also being recorded. Demand has also increased within the country. All in all, all the products including necessary equipment and raw materials are needed to carry out production activities in all sectors. That is why the tide of imports has come.
One thing to keep in mind here is that increasing imports means increasing investment. Increasing investment means creating employment opportunities. Accelerating the economy as a whole.
"However, the Bangladesh Bank and the concerned agencies of the government have to be vigilant so that one product is not replaced by another and money is not smuggled abroad under the guise of import."
Ahsan H. Mansoor, executive director of the research institute Policy Research Institute (PRI), told NewsBangla, "It is hoped that traffic on the Padma Bridge will start from next year." Metrorail will also be fully operational. The construction of Karnafuli tunnel will also be completed. These three big projects will add a different dimension to Bangladesh's progress. A few more big projects are underway. Work on several special economic zones has been completed. A few more are in the works.
In that situation, the countrymen will get another Bangladesh from 2023. And the entrepreneurs are making investment plans centering on these development sacrifices. They are importing the necessary equipment to implement all those plans. That is why imports are increasing. '
"The place of relief is that our reserves are still in a satisfactory condition," he said. Export income is also coming well. However, remittances have declined. For whatever reason, if exports also go down, then reserves will also go down. That is why the government should now focus on increasing remittances as well as export earnings.
Faruk Hasan, president of BGMEA, the apex body of garment industry owners, which is the main source of export earnings, said, "Corona situation has returned to normal in Europe-America, our main export market. People are buying clothes like before. That's why a lot of orders are available. Our situation is improving here too. The country's economy has turned around. As a result, imports of other raw materials, capital machinery and other products are increasing. It has affected the overall import. '
According to Bangladesh Bank, remittance inflows declined by 20 percent in the first four months of the current fiscal (July-October).
According to the Export Promotion Bureau, export earnings have increased by 22.72 percent in the last four months.
Reserves 46.5 billion
The reduction in remittances has also affected Bangladesh's foreign exchange reserves. At the end of the day on Thursday, the reserves were 48.5 billion.
Despite the increase in imports, on August 24, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) added 144.6 million (about 1.45 billion) to its SDR (Special Drawing Rights) loan reserves, surpassing the 48 billion milestone.
Reserves fell below 47 billion in the first week of September after the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) paid its July-August import bill.
With the increase in imports, the required dollar left the reserves and in a month's time, it dropped further to about 46 billion.
In the last few days, however, it has risen slightly to 46.5 billion due to increased exports.
However, the reserves will come down to 45 billion next week after Akur pays 1.5 billion in import bills for the September-October period, central bank officials said.