12:00 AM, December 27, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 27, 2012

New GDP base year on cards

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Gazi Towhid Ahmed

The government will introduce a new base year next month to calculate the country's gross domestic product in a more accurate and realistic manner, an official said yesterday.
“GDP calculation from the next financial year will be in line with the new base year of 2005-06, instead of the current 1995-96,” Ziauddin Ahmed, deputy director of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, told The Daily Star.
The new base year will be approved in the next meeting of a technical committee formed by the government's statistical agency earlier, Ahmed said.
Economist Wahiduddin Mahmud is the chief of the committee tasked to finalise the new base year.
“There are a lot of products and services included in the country's recent economic activities but those remained out of the purview of GDP. Under the new base year, we will include all these sectors in the GDP basket,” he said.
The GDP size will increase significantly after the inclusion of the new sectors such as shipbuilding, internet, event management, security services and some other informal economic activities, he said.
The per capita income will also go up, Ahmed said. The BBS currently calculates the country's economic growth in line with the performances of 15 sectors.
Analysts said, calculating the GDP under a 17-year-old base year cannot portray the real picture of the economy. The statistical agency has also taken an initiative to measure GDP quarterly, instead of providing the growth figures on an annual basis.
The BBS plans to calculate 'green GDP' by measuring the cost of environmental pollution in the development activities, Ahmed said.
But the agency will take some time to launch the quarterly GDP and 'green GDP' as it will have to develop its data collection mechanism and increase capacity further. The new base year will only continue for the next two-three years as the BBS is now working to change the base year to 2010-11, Ahmed said.
Surveys and data collection are now underway towards this end, he added.
The government has set a target to achieve 7.2 percent GDP growth in the current fiscal year.
The statistical agency already started to calculate inflation under a new base year of 2005-06 from the old 1995-96.


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