WB, too, doubtful about 7.05pc growth estimate

The World Bank on Saturday questioned the sources of the 7.05 per cent growth as projected by the government for the current fiscal year.
In its economic update, the global development agency said all sectors except export do not substantiate the growth estimated by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

Based on BBS data, the government claimed that the growth in gross domestic product would grow from 6.55 per cent to 7.05 per cent at the end of the current financial year.

“With the exception of exports, no indicator grew faster in 2016 (fiscal year) relative to 2015 (fiscal),” Zahid Hussain, WB senior economist, told newsmen during the launching of the update.

However, the WB did not come up with its own forecast for the year but made its projection for the subsequent year (2016-2017) at 6.8 per cent, even below the government’s forecast for this year.

Some other organisations, too, have already differed and UNESCAP gave the estimate for the year at 6.8 per cent. Political parties, especially Bangladesh Nationalist Party, also expressed doubts about the growth projection at over 7 per cent.

The WB still found this growth trend to be strong but emphasised that BBS data on the economy needed to be reconciled.

According to BBS data, the projected growth in agriculture went from 0.5 per cent in 2014-15 to 0.4 per cent in 2015-16, private investment from 1.5 per cent to 1.3 per cent, private consumption from 3.8 per cent to 3.5 per cent, industry from 2.7 per cent to 2.9 per cent, manufacturing from 1.9 per cent to 2 per cent, services from 3 per cent to 3.4 per cent, government consumption from 0.4 per cent to 0.6 per cent, government investment from 0.8 per cent to 1.5 per cent, exports from -0.5 per cent to -0.1 per cent and imports from -0.7 per cent to 1.9 per cent.

“From the BBS data, it is difficult to draw such a conclusion (of 7.05 per cent growth),” said Zahid Hussain.

When asked why the WB refrained from making its own growth projection right now, he said since a figure has already come from the government, it is irrelevant for the WB to carry out such an exercise.

The WB earlier projected the GDP growth for 2015-16 at 6.3 per cent.

WB country director for Bangladesh Qimiao Fan said it is useless to place too much focus on numbers while talking about Bangladesh growth.

“It does not matter if the growth is 6.3 per cent, 6.8 per cent or 7.05 per cent. What matters is that it is already a strong growth and Bangladesh is one of 12 major countries that attained 6 plus (per cent) growth despite the global uncertainties,” he added.

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