As the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) finally released the estimate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and its components in the last week, a leading economist appreciated the move.
“The new figure has brought back some sanity in the GDP growth estimates, endowed credibility to the BBS, and restored the Rules of Business regarding preparing national accounts of the country,” said Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
He was presenting the keynote paper at a virtual media briefing on Sunday morning organised by Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh. The title of the briefing was ‘Delivery of the National Budget 2021 in the Context of the Pandemic: Ensuring Interests of the Disadvantaged People.’
The final GDP growth rate figure provided by the BBS for the fiscal year 2019-20 (FY20) is 3.51 per cent which is lower than the originally targeted 8.2 per cent or even a revised target of 5.50 per cent.
“This is in line with the post-budget critic by the Citizen’s Platform for SDGs,” said Dr Bhattacharya who is also convenor of the platform.
“The registered economic performance of Bangladesh still compares favourably among its peers in the pandemic year,” he continued.
BBS released the final GDP estimation for FY20 almost a year later and also the provisional GDP estimate for FY21 which had usually been released before the end of a fiscal year and quoted in the budget speech.
According to the BBS provisional estimate, GDP registered 5.47 per cent growth in FY21.
“What is curious is that this GDP growth estimate is most probably available (because per capita income figures were provided by the BBS by then), but was not disclosed in the budget speech,” he added.
The economist also said that the targeted GDP growth rate for FY21 was revised down from 8.2 per cent to 5.2 per cent but the ‘final figures are expected to be lower.’
“The performance indicators are yet to capture the last quarter (March- June 21) which coincided with the advent of the second wave of the pandemic,” he said in the presentation.