GDP swells, per capita income crosses $1,000
The size of the economy, its growth rate and per capita income have increased in Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics' new estimates using 2005-06 as the base year.
Under the new base year, fiscal 2012-13's gross domestic product (GDP) in current prices stood at $153.58 billion, whereas it came to $134.17 billion using the existing 1995-96.
The new estimate also shows an increase in fiscal 2012-13's growth rate: the economy grew by 6.18 percent in constant prices as opposed to 6.03 percent under the existing base year of 1995-96.
Per capita income, which stands at $923 in the existing base year, rose to $1,044 in the new estimate. In addition, the new base year shows a reduced gap in savings and investment in the economy.
The estimates were presented yesterday at a meeting attended by Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Planning Minister AK Khandker Food Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, and Fisheries and Livestock Minister Abdul Latif Biswas.
Economist Wahiduddin Mahmud, who heads a technical committee for revision and rebasing of GDP calculation year, was also present at the meeting held at the BBS headquarters.
"Usually, the GDP size increases under the new base year because of the addition of new elements in the economy. So, this change is nothing significant or unusual," Muhith said after the meeting.
BBS said the calculation of GDP under the new base year will help reflect a more accurate picture of the economy as many new sectors have emerged since 1995-96.
The statistical agency, which last rebased in 2000, has got the nod of the technical committee and is now awaiting the green light from the government to start computing GDP using the 2005-06 base year, a senior official of the agency said, seeking to remain unnamed.
Under the latest base year, 24 new crops have been added to the basket of 100 to calculate the contribution of the agricultural sector. The new additions include green banana, green papaya, green coconut, soybean, cucumber, hog plum, red amaranth, bottle gourd, olive, ripe palm, marigold, rose and tuberose.
The contributions of Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation and Bangladesh Fisheries Development Corporation such as fish fry and dried fish have been included in the agriculture sector in the new base year.
BBS says the inclusions will boost the gross value addition (GVA) of agriculture by 9 percent.
In the industrial sector, gas refining activities by state-run Petrobangla and data of survey of manufacturing industries (SMI) has been included in the new base year.
Private power plants along with Power Grid Company of Bangladesh have been added to compute GVA of the power sector. In construction sector, brick, wood and fixtures and fittings have been added with the existing cement and rod in the new 2005-06 base year.
Overall, the GVA in the industrial sector will increase 5 percent after the inclusion, according to BBS.
The GDP of services sector, too, is set to increase, by 16 percent, under the new base year. BBS has included motor vehicles repairing, activities of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
The economic contributions of the private airlines, clearing and forwarding and travel agents, internet service providers and cable operators would also be accounted in the new base year.
Zaid Bakht, research director of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), said the rise in per capita income signifies an increase in purchasing capacity of people and the improvement of their living conditions.
Per capita income has gone up, thanks to the healthy flow of remittances sent home by Bangladeshi nationals working abroad and the effective role of microcredit organisations and the slowing population growth, Bakht told BBC Radio.
The new figure is the culmination of the development and improvement on several indicators in the last several years, not just a jump of a single year, he said.
The economist said the rise in per capita income manifests the real rise in the people's purchasing power.
Calculating the per capita income, the new base year of 2005-06 has taken into account many economic activities and service sectors which were not reflected in the calculation in the old base year of 1995-96, Bakht said.