What the papers say

Growth Forecast

A weekly round up of articles about employment, the labour market, skills training and workforce development. This week’s round up is drawn from The Daily Star. Here is the news for the week ending 7th April 2016.

This week in the Bangladesh English Press…

…Bangladesh met a long awaited growth target and joins a World Trade Organization agreement to save on trade. The government intervenes to correct prices in wheat and oil. Tanners face heavy losses in move to Savar.

Economic Forecast

Bangladesh will achieve 7.05 percent GDP growth in this fiscal year, including a rise of per capita income to USD 1,466. This helps confirm an optimistic growth forecast from the Asian Development Bank in September of last year, which praised Bangladesh for its achievements in the last couple of years.

Bangladesh will ratify the trade facilitation agreement of the WTO, placing it in a community of 57 other countries committed to an easier flow of goods and lower business costs for trade. A recent report argued that developing countries could benefit greatly, increasing export revenue by USD 170-730 billion. Coupled with the news of Bangladesh’s GDP growth forecast, the future looks bright for Bangladesh’s economy.

Relocation Hides Profits

Tanneries in Hazaribagh will mostly likely miss the extended deadline for moving hides and relocating operations to Savar. The Tannery Industrial Estate, a government project to move tanneries out of the capital, further northwest, has been responded to with minimal enthusiasm. Tanneries are having trouble moving the hides, often losing many in the process, and are slow to set up the same utilities and infrastructure they had in Hazaribagh. Only 33% of tanneries have applied for gas connections, and 20% for water. Tanners are worried about the relocation, as they fear losing what could be large profits. Until 50 tanneries relocate, the government can’t begin the operation of the factory, leading to further lost profits.

Intervening on Prices

Low wheat prices and an increase in imported wheat dampens the hope of a more profitable season for farmers. However, later in the week, the Government announced it would support wheat farmers by purchasing wheat from the beginning of next week, lasting until the end of May. The Government will buy a total of 200 000 tonnes of wheat, out of the 1 398 000 tonnes produced this season. While the purchase will not vastly improve the condition of wheat farmers, it will help them get through a tougher season.

The call for cheaper petroleum was answered as the government lowers the price of furnace oil from Tk 60 to Tk 42 a litre. As the global market for oil fell in mid 2014 and continued to stay low, local markets urged the government to follow suit to encourage individual consumers and businesses.