The Financial Express

Moazzem Hossain Memorial Lecture

Stop distorting data to placate policymakers, Mashiur advises officials

| Updated: January 27, 2020 13:20:18

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Stop distorting data to placate policymakers, Mashiur advises officials

Adviser to the prime minister on economic affairs Dr Mashiur Rahman on Thursday said statistics should not be altered to make them soothing to the ears of key policymakers.

The policymakers do also need to accept what is actual, Dr Rahman said in reference to the latest revision of country's GDP (gross domestic product) growth figure for the fiscal year 2019.

He was delivering the first Annual 'Moazzem Hossain Memorial Lecture' at the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) auditorium in the city.

The ERF will be organising the lecture every year in memory of late Moazzem Hossain, its first president and founding editor of the Financial Express.

Mr Rahman laid emphasis on skill-based education with a view to avoiding more addition to jobless educated youths.

He also suggested creating more employment in the manufacturing sector to help absorb people who would be jobless following mechanisation of agriculture.

The adviser also wanted increased spending on research and development activities, which would prove rewarding to the economy.

The advisor admitted that the farm sector's contribution to GDP has decreased with low employment, but said output value in agriculture and employment is high due to mechanisation of agriculture and introduction of new technology.

He said GDP is assessed through different parameters by many countries and the difference in growth rate by the government and development partners is evident because of the gap between domestic data and global statistics.

Referring to the GDP growth of 8.12 per cent and 8.15 per cent, the PM aide said this has happened owing to assessment through foreign currency.

He, however, said the GDP growth shows upward trend even if some may oppose the curve.

"One may differ on the slope of the growth but he or she has to accept the country's upward growth," he said adding that growth momentum will be in place despite changes in future curve.

About inflation, he said it cannot be tamed fully, or even curbed as it is linked to employment.

Citing the example of onion, price hike in food spice is not reflected in inflation rate because of its poor percentage of consumption.

He criticised the media reports on analysing this kind of situation.

Dr Rahman laid importance on making right decisions by policy makers for tapping demographic dividend and said knowledge-based development will help increase the efficiency level in the industrial sector.

He also underlined the need for boosting public spending on skills and knowledge development, including in vocational training focused on developing certain skills and creating a "fair" market for private investment.

Policy makers will have to focus on skill development through proper and timely interventions so that "right tune comes from right instruments," he argued.

The scope for the transfer of skills must be created in one hand and on the other hand, scientists should be provided with enough time and resources to carry out research.

He stressed the need for introducing basic science in all educational institutions, including private universities.

The advisor also laid importance on creating environment for access to loan, checking environmental degradation, raising taxation growth and reining in corruption to harness demographic dividend.

He praised the Financial Express for maintaining standard under its able leader, Moazzem Hossain, who passed away in August 2018.

Among others, founder convener of ERF and joint editor of the FE Shamsul Huq Zahid, ERF president Saif Islam Dilal, Managing Editor of Daily Sangbad Kashem Humayun, former ERF presidents Zakaria Kajol, Sultan Mahmud and Ziaur Rahman spoke on the occasion highlighting the contribution of late Moazzem Hossain to business journalism.

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