BB continues to pursue contractionary stance; abdicates accountability : Unnayan Onneshan

DHAKA : Unnayan Onneshan, an independent multidisciplinary think tank, in its current issue of the Bangladesh Economic Update (MEU) on Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) stated that the central bank continues to pursue contratctionary stance, abdicating its accountability for consecutive decline in the rate of growth of the economy, reports UNB.
Explaining the decline of growth mainly due to fall in investment demand, the leading research organisation points out that the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-prescribed contractionary stance has reduced the investment capacity of the private sector through lesser availability of credit. This in turn has reduced rate of growth from 6.71 percent in FY 2010-11 to 6.23 percent in FY 2011-12 and to 6.03 percent in FY 2012-13, 0.20 percentage points lower than the decadal average rate of 6.23 percent.
The growth of private sector credit witnessed a nosedive to 11.4 percent in May of FY 2012-13, from 14.8 percent in January of FY 2012-13 against the target of 18.5 percent of MPS. The targeted growth of private sector credit in the current MPS is set at 15.5 percent, three-percentage points lower than that of the preceding MPS.
“The proposed mechanisms is a sequel to the past MPSs, which have already been restraining the rate of growth in private sector through high rate of interest and may further dampen the investment by increasing the cost of capital, as the banks are already advancing at higher rates, resulting in continuance of contracted national output,” the Monthly Economic Update said.
Pointing out the recent decline in quantum index of industrial production, the Unnayan Onneshan suggests that the lower industrial production is directly linked to monetary policy as the rate of growth in the industrial term loan has been experiencing a decreasing trend since FY 2010-11.
In the third quarter of FY 2012-13, the disbursement of loan in industrial sector was Tk 10,061.24 crore which was Tk 2,172.26 crore less than that of second quarter.
In FY 2011-12, the rate of growth in industrial term loan was 9.68 percent, which were 24.30 percent and 29.56 percent in FY 2010-11 and FY 2009-10 respectively. Referring to the failure of the central bank in keeping a check on the increased government borrowing, the Unnayan Onneshan said: “This upward trend of borrowing has exerted pressure on the loanable fund of these banks which in turn crowds out private investment.”
“This has also led to debt payment emerging as a major expenditure and lessened fiscal space.” Interest payment has risen from Tk 23,630 crore in FY 2008-09 to Tk.
38,627 crore in FY 2012-13, representing an increase of 38.83 percent
Referring to foreign exchange reserve of US$ 15,000 million, the Unnayan Onneshan terms it residual and not to be mistakenly seen as a sign of healthy economic dispensation, considering that the central bank has purchased a huge amount of dollar to stablise the exchange rate, the adjustment of exchange rate reduced the export earnings and import failed to take the advantage from such exchange rate due to lower credit availability to the private sector. In FY 2012-13 (up to March), the Bangladesh Bank purchased US$ 5,114 million, from mere US$ 157 million in FY 2011-12 and US$ 316.50 million in FY 2010-11.
Observing that the economic policymaking has been going through a self-conflicting way, the Unnayan Onneshan sated that the budget remains expansionary to placate the ruling party stalwarts in an election year while the central bank has adopted contractionary monetary policy.