12:00 AM, May 28, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 28, 2010

Per capita income crosses $700

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Rejaul Karim Byron

The per capita income crossed the $700 mark in the current fiscal year, mainly because of a healthy GDP growth.
The people of lower strata have got a share of the rise in the income as small-scale industries have shown a rapid growth and employed the poor segment.
The per capita income has reached $750 this fiscal year from $676 last year.
For Bangladesh to graduate to a mid-income country, its per capita income should be $975 now.
World Bank senior economist Zahid Hussain said Bangladesh can quickly reach the mid-income group of countries only if its GDP grows at a faster rate of around 7.5 percent to 8 percent. The GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate is 5.5 percent now.
Hussain said the growth is healthy in the existing economic scenario.
Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) early this week finalised the provisional account of GDP for the current fiscal year and the actual GDP calculations for the last year.
"If we can't make a rapid progress, we won't be able to reach the level of per capita income required for becoming a mid-income country," Hussain said.
"From the growth pattern it seems that the low-income people have benefited from the rise in the per capita income."
In the manufacturing sector, small-scale industries, which are more labour intensive, have shown the most rapid growth.
The WB economist also said the country fetched a huge amount of remittance this year, which gave a rise to non-farm activities such as in small teashops, biscuit factories and small toy shops in the rural areas.
This has helped the lower strata people get a share of the increased per capita income, said Hussain.
He said the growth has almost doubled this fiscal year in public administration and education sectors. The income of the government staff, workers and teachers increased as the pay scale was implemented.
The government repeatedly projected the GDP growth rate to be 6 percent but the BBS provisional account shows that the growth was 5.54 percent this fiscal year.
The BBS in the final calculation of last fiscal year's GDP growth showed a slide to 5.74 percent, which was 5.9 percent in earlier estimate.
The services sector showed a good growth this year, but the overall GDP growth was lower because of a fall in the agriculture and industries sectors.
The growth rate in the agriculture sector dropped almost by half due to the declining growth in crop. The growth rate in crop sector was 2.20 percent this fiscal year, down from 4.02 percent last year.
BBS officials said the main contributor to the crop sector is rice. In the last fiscal year crop sector saw a bumper production of rice at around three crore tonnes. Although Aus crop was hampered this year, the harvest is expected to be around three crore tonnes. As the production remained the same, the crop sector did not rise.
In the manufacturing sector, the growth rate fell by 1.40 percentage points compared to the last fiscal year, due to a poor performance by the export sector.
The inflow of a big amount of remittance and the implementation of pay scale in the public sector contributed to the growth in the services sector.

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