8pc GDP growth by 2019: minister

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal yesterday expressed his optimism that 2018 will be a 'good and happy' year for the economy and Bangladesh would achieve 8 percent growth by the next fiscal year.

"Earlier, we set our target to attain 8 percent growth by 2019-20 in line with the Seventh Five-Year Plan,” he said.

“But, it's my belief that we will be able to attain 8 percent growth by 2019 ahead of that target and there is no reason for not attaining that."

The minister spoke at a seminar titled “Rebasing and revision of GDP: Bangladesh perspective” organised by the Planning Division at the NEC conference room in the capital.

Prime Minister's Economic Affairs Adviser Moshiur Rahman and economist Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud, also the chairman on the advisory committee for rebasing and revision of GDP, spoke at the seminar as special guests.

Chaired by Planning Division Secretary M Ziaul Islam, Mahmud 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”.

Besides, former adviser to the caretaker government AB Mirza Azizul Islam and former Bangladesh Bank governor Mohammad Farashuddin also spoke at the discussion.

The planning minister said the country now needs to put emphasis on how to further boost the GDP growth without raising the investment.

It will be possible to attain 8 percent growth easily, if the country could properly utilise the resilient, vibrant and young generation, Kamal 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 is not being considered for the estimation of GDP, he said.

He said efforts are on to conduct the Household Income and Expenditure Survey on annual basis.

Underscoring the need for further improving the quality of data by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Moshiur Rahman said there is a need for generating quality statistics alongside professional statisticians to fulfil the various development aspirations of the government. In his presentation, Mahmud showed that despite many odds,

Bangladesh has achieved steady 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."

“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.”

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 revision of national income accounts are needed for reflecting the changing structure of the economy and making use of newly available data, he said.

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.