Expressing optimism, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday said 2018 will be a “good and happy” one for the country’s economy while Bangladesh would attain 8% growth by the next fiscal (FY19).
“Earlier, we set our target to attain 8% growth by 2020 (FY2020) in line with the 7th Five Year Plan. But, it’s my belief that we’ll be able to attain 8% growth by 2019 ahead of that target and there is no reason for not attaining that,” he said.
The minister made these remarks while addressing a seminar titled ‘Rebasing and Revision of GDP: Bangladesh Perspective’ organised by the Planning Division at the National Economic Council (NEC) conference room in Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.
PM’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Moshiur Rahman and country’s renowned economist Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud spoke at the seminar as special guests. Besides, former adviser to the caretaker government Dr AB Mirza Azizul Islam and former Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Mohammad Farashuddin also spoke at the discussion.
Elaborating the rationality of rebasing the GDP base year, the minister said still there are unpaid wages in the society as the household works of women are yet to be converted to financial value as well as their work are not being considered for the estimation of GDP.
The planning minister informed that efforts are on to conduct the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) on annual basis.
The minister said the country now needs to put emphasis on how to further boost the GDP growth without further raising the investment, saying: “We can ensure that through raising our productivity and for that we need to have an educated society.”
Mustafa Kamal said if the country could properly utilize resilient, vibrant and young generation properly, then it will be possible to attain 8% growth easily.
Underscoring the need for further improving the quality of data by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), PM’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Moshiur Rahman said there is a need for generating quality statistics alongside professional statisticians to fulfill the various development aspirations of the government.
Chaired by Planning Division Secretary M Ziaul Islam, Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud, also the chairman on the advisory committee for rebasing and revision of GDP, presented a paper on ‘Understanding economic growth through national income accounts and related statistical systems: the Bangladesh perspective’.
Economist Prof SR Osmani presented another paper on ‘Making the national accounting system of Bangladesh more supportive of policy analysis’.
In his presentation, Dr Wahiduddin Mahmud showed that despite many odds, Bangladesh has achieved steadily accelerated growth in GDP and per capita income.
“The improvements in the social development indicators were even more impressive, making Bangladesh a leader from a laggard in relation to per capita income in cross-country comparisons,” he said.
Prof Mahmud said Bangladesh’s economic growth record is remarkable for steady acceleration and lack of fluctuations. “The average annual growth rate of GDP (and per capita income) has accelerated in every successive five-year period since the later half of the 1980s.”
Dr Mirza Azizul Islam said despite less public expenditure compared to the demand, the achievements of the government in various sectors are good, which is a matter of pride.
Periodic rebasing and revising of national income accounts are needed for reflecting the changing structure of the economy and making use of newly available data.
The previous two such rebasing led to the revised national accounts series adopted in 2001 (base year: 1995-96) and again in 2013-14 (base year: 2005-06); the ongoing exercise will take 2015-16 as the base year.