EPB eyes 13pc export growth in FY21, experts sceptical

Moinul Haque | Published: 22:52, Jun 28,2020


The Export Promotion Bureau has proposed to set the target for the country’s merchandising export at $37.44 billion with 13.44 per cent yearonyear growth for the upcoming financial year 2020-21.

According to sources, the EPB recently sent the proposal to the commerce ministry and a technical committee of the ministry would be working on finalising the targets.

Experts, however, said that a growth rate of above 13 per cent for the next fiscal year would be ambitious and the commerce ministry should be pragmatic in finalising the export target.

The government set an export target for goods of $45.5 billion for the current fiscal year 2019-20 which will end on June 31.

Against the target, the country’s export earnings in July-May of FY20 stood at $30.96 billion with an 18-per cent negative growth.

The EPB set its proposed target at $37.44 billion for FY21 based on the $33 billion earnings reported in FY20, ministry officials said.

The EPB also proposed for an earnings target of around $30 billion from readymade garment products for the next fiscal based on the earnings of around $27 billion from RMG in the ongoing fiscal.

The sources also said that the bureau proposed a service export target of $7.6 billion for FY21.

‘We have sent our proposal to the commerce ministry and a technical committee of the ministry would finalise the export target,’ EPB vicechairman AHM Ahsan said on Sunday.

He, however, declined to give the details of the proposal and said that they set the proposed export target in light of the changed global situation.

‘I think export earnings will see negative growth up to December of FY21 and the earnings will pick up from January and it will continue till the end of the fiscal,’ Ahsan said.

He said that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the EPB was unable to hold formal meetings with the stakeholders over setting the proposed target but the bureau took the current global situation very seriously while preparing the proposal.

The EPB vice-chairman said that they proposed a double-digit growth for FY21.

‘Considering the global situation, the 13 per cent growth target is ambitious as our export earnings even before COVID-19 was not in double digits,’ said Centre for Policy Dialogue research director Khandaker Golam Moazzem.

He said that the ongoing negative trend would continue for up to the first half of the next fiscal as normalcy would not return soon on the global market.

Moazzem hoped that the commerce ministry would be pragmatic in finalising the export target and the technical committee’s review on the EPB’s proposal should lead to a downward revision. 

According to the EPB data, the country’s export earnings in the July-May period of the current financial year 2019-20 fell by 17.99 per cent to $30.96 billion from $37.75 billion in the same period of the last fiscal year.

The data showed that the export earnings registered negative growth in nine out of 11 months of the current fiscal year.

The earnings witnessed a drastic fall from March this year due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the global market.

The earnings fell by 18.29 per cent in March, 82.45 per cent in April and 61.57 per cent May, the data showed.

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