Thursday, May 28, 2020 | ePaper

Manipulated data can never show the real growth

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CONTRASTING statistical data on economic indicators show the puzzle over the GDP growth rate. A research organization on Thursday wondered that GDP might be miscalculated as export and foreign remittance inflow are in downsizing against the robust GDP growth rate. The government data showed a surge in private consumption in the last two fiscal years though export and remittance growth had been slow during the period. South Asian Network for Economic Modelling (SANEM) said the growth in public consumption can be explained to some extent because the government is spending on big infrastructure projects but the growth in private consumption remains a puzzle.
The observation came around two weeks after the Centre for Policy Dialogue, a private think- tank, questioned the current year's growth estimate of 8.13 percent, citing incoherency in various indicators of the economy. Citing Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics data, SANEM said the growth in private consumption was estimated at 11.41 percent in fiscal 2017-18 compared to 7.43 percent in the previous year. It was 3 percent in fiscal 2015-16. This is a big concern that we see high growth in private consumption despite low growth in export and remittance. The second concern is that the government data shows high growth in the manufacturing sector though the growth in export and private investment has been sluggish.
SANEM questioned the high growth rate of 13.4 percent in the manufacturing sector in fiscal 2017-18, saying the export growth was 5.81 percent in that year. Private investment growth was also slow during the period. Then what are the drivers of growth in the manufacturing sector and what are the sources? We do not see any major improvement in the business environment. Rather, we see deterioration in some areas. Then how could we explain the growth in the manufacturing sector. All these led to a very puzzling scenario. The BBS should correct its incoherent data; otherwise, the manufactured data will mislead citizens and the international community.

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