Press Release: Statement at the Conclusion of the Visit by IMF Director Anoop Singh to Bangladesh

February 12, 2009

Press Release No. 09/33

The following statement was issued by the Resident Representative Office of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Bangladesh today:

"Mr. Anoop Singh, Director of the Asia and Pacific Department of the IMF, visited Dhaka on February 12, 2009 to meet members of the new Government and discuss how best the IMF could support Bangladesh's economic reform efforts. Mr. Singh was accompanied by Mr. Masato Miyazaki, Advisor in the Asia and Pacific Department and IMF mission chief for Bangladesh, and Mr. Jonathan Dunn, IMF Resident Representative to Bangladesh. The team was privileged to meet with Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Planning Minister AK Khandker, Advisor for Finance and Planning Dr. Mashiur Rahman, Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed, and other senior government officials.

"Bangladesh's economy has been able to resist, thus far, some of the effects of the global financial crisis. The domestic economy has retained momentum from a favorable agricultural performance and Bangladesh has benefited from the fall in food, fuel and other commodity prices. Moreover, limited capital account dependence has largely protected the country's banks and stock market from the first round impact of the global crisis.

"However, pressures from the global slowdown are building and growth could begin to moderate. In particular, demand has weakened sharply in Bangladesh's major export markets in the European Union and North America, and—although remittances remain robust—there has recently been a decline in the number of workers leaving Bangladesh for employment abroad. This increases the need to maintain the momentum of domestic demand. In this context, the new government is looking to improve the investment and growth orientation of the economy through public sector and financial reforms. An important objective is to increase the support of government spending for infrastructure and social investment, thereby also boosting the economy's medium-term growth potential and accelerating poverty reduction. Another important dimension is financial sector reforms to strengthen the resilience of the sector and broaden and deepen domestic financial markets.

"Mr. Singh said that the IMF stands ready to support Bangladesh in these efforts and that a close dialogue will be maintained over the coming months."


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