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Nine new sectors to come under GDP calculation

Published : 19 Nov 2021 11:16 PM

The government has finalised nine new sectors, including mobile banking, in calculation of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the size of the economy is expanding.    

"We've planned to place these sectors in the next Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting for approval," a top source of the planning ministry confirmed to Bangladesh Post.

He said these nine sectors have been finalized after assessment for inclusion in GDP calculation.

Like mobile banking, agent banking, cattle and poultry, nursery, some fruits like (Latkan, Dragon, Strawberry, Capsicum) mushroom, cable television, internet and helicopter services are now on process for inclusion in the new 2015-16 base year of GDP, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 

Talking to Bangladesh Post, BBS Director General Md Tajul Islam said it is now under review. These sectors will be included after the Prime Minister's approval, he added.

BBS sources said the form of the economy is constantly changing, the base year of GDP is also changed every decade so that the economy can be calculated more accurately with the new base year.

For example, he said boats were used widely for ferrying people and goods transportation across the country until the early nineties, and it contributed a lot to the economy. However, due to the development of infrastructures, the scope of the profession decreased over the time and as a result, it dropped from the GDP list, said the BBS official familiar with the process. 

Similarly, the BBS official said mobile banking service will be included as a new sector in calculation of GDP as this banking is a very popular and easily available medium for money transactions in the country.  

“About nine such new sectors are now under review for inclusion in the new 2015-16 base year of GDP,” said the official. 

There are around 15 such mobile banking companies including bKash, Rocket, UP and at present, an average of Tk 2,500 crore is being transacted daily through mobile banking and mobile financial services (MFS). 

“There are more than seven crore customers of mobile banking, it has created new jobs. As a result, the sector is making a big contribution to the economy,” he added. 

Agent banks also started providing services a decade ago but the contribution of the agent banks to the economy in the past would not have been reflected in calculating GDP. This time agent banking will be added, he said, adding that there are 14,000 agent banks in the country and according to the latest data of Bangladesh Bank, the deposit balance in agent banks is Tk 20,379 crore. 

Commercial rearing of cattle and poultry and meat production and development of nursery business will be new sectors in GDP. Commercial cultivation of new agricultural products like Latkan, Dragon, Strawberry, Capsicum and mushroom are under consideration for inclusion in GDP calculation. 

Cable television, internet business and helicopter services will also be added to the GDP. 

After the adoption of the new base year, the size of GDP has increased by more than 14 percent. According to the new base year, Bangladesh was an economy of Tk 34,840 billion in current prices in FY21, up 15.7 percent from Tk 30,111 billion as per the previous base year. 

When connected economist Dr Atiur Rahman told Bangladesh Post, “As the country’s economy is expanding fast, new potential sectors need to be included in GDP estimation.”

“Inclusion of new promising sectors and dropping of less important sectors in GDP calculation is a normal practice to get a real picture of the economy,” he added.

A base year is a benchmark with reference to which national account figures such as GDP, gross domestic saving and gross capital formation are calculated. 

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bangladesh's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) will be US$2,138.794 in 2021, which is higher than that in neighbouring India. The per capita GDP of India will be US$2,116.444 in 2021. 

The IMF revealed the figures in its recently published World Economic Outlook 2021 titled “Recovery During a Pandemic Health Concerns, Supply Disruptions and Price Pressures”.