Regional GDP data will help reduce disparity, says Shamsul Alam

Economic growth estimation broken down by region will help reduce disparity, according to State Minister for Planning Shamsul Alam.

“Regional GDP [gross domestic product] is very significant. It is important to know the position of different regions with regard to GDP,” Alam said at the inauguration of a workshop on Thursday as he made a recommendation to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

“We need to know which areas like Dhaka, Chattogram, Barishal or Rajshahi are making good progress.”

“We will learn which regions have a high growth rate and which regions are falling behind. Then we can find out the reasons for these disparities and take the necessary steps to address them. For example, infrastructure and education institutes that contribute to GDP growth can be built,” Alam said.

Bangladesh, at one time, used to estimate the regional GDP growth rate, Alam recalled. The autocratic government in the 1980s repealed the system as they never wanted statistics that showed this regional disparity, he said.

Most of the countries keep a quarterly account of GDP, which provides important information and data. “Not only is collecting data important, but its timely

dissemination is also necessary,” he said.

“If it’s a quarterly report, then it should be published by the first week of the next month. Otherwise, our goals will never be reached,” he said.

The prime minister has approved the quarterly GDP estimation, said Planning Minister MA Mannan, chief guest of the event.

Any decision regarding the national economy requires the consideration of enough information and, therefore, the government highly values the BBS, he said. “GDP estimation is an existing task of the BBS. Doing a quarterly estimation will add a new dimension to their existing work.”

“We have started to train our workforce to enable them to produce quarterly GDP reports,” said Ziauddin Ahmed, director of the National Accounting Wing of the BBS.

He, however, could not provide a timeline for quarterly GDP reports to be available.