The World Bank on Monday cited lack of efficiency, low capacity of data collection system as well as scarcity of necessary data and information on the part of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) in carrying out activities of national accounting.
The World Bank Dhaka office’s Lead Economist Zahid Hussain came up with the remarks at a press conference on the proposed FY16 Budget. World Bank Acting Country Head Salman Zaidi was also present at the press conference, a news agency report said.
When asked whether the government is maintaining any secrecy over calculation of GDP growth, the World Bank official said “It is not a matter of secrecy, rather a case of lack of necessary data and information, and the accounting method employed.”
Referring to the World Bank's earlier projection of 5.6 per cent GDP growth in the outgoing fiscal year, Dr Hussain repeating his previous comments said he would not be surprised if the GDP growth for FY15 comes to 6.5 per cent as per the estimation of the BBS, since it follows the indirect method of national accounting as a “data poor country”.
He said that in such method, the losses to the economy due to abnormality or other reasons like political turmoil are not reflected.
The World Bank official also said that even India adopted the direct method of national accounting only last year in some specific sectors.
Asked whether the 6.51 per cent growth in the outgoing fiscal year is unrealistic, Dr Hussain said, "In terms of loss, especially you could say that the loss is not captured realistically."
About the government move in the proposed budget to set up a new bank for the public servants, namely Shammridhi Shopan Bank, the World Bank official said that amongst the experts and researchers, there is a consensus that there is no need for any new bank in Bangladesh either in the public or private sector.
He also said that there is a problem in the state-owned commercial banks regarding governance.
Asked how the World Bank calculated the losses due to political turmoil during January-March, Dr Hussain said that they have calculated the per day productivity where the losses of different sectors vary, with the service sector especially suffering.
About the World Bank's Washington office's GDP growth projection of 6.3 per cent for Bangladesh in FY16, he said that the government set a target of 7 per cent growth in FY16 which is a challenging one. "But whatever reform initiatives are highlighted in the proposed budget, don't seem to me sufficient enough."