Assessing economic growth

Publish: 6:02 PM, June 22, 2023 | Update: 6:02 PM, June 22, 2023

Economic growth nowadays is usually a standard to measure the economic progress of a country, the net of production of goods and services, on an annual basis. Thus, the higher the growth the stronger becomes the claim of the government in charge of economic governance that it has been doing its work efficiently in promoting conditions for this vital growth.
The World Bank (WB) in its latest assessment has projected that Bangladesh’s economic growth in the on going fiscal year, 2022-23 which is just about to end in a fortnight’s time would be no more than 5.8 per cent. But our national statistical organization-BBS (Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics)-in its report provisionally estimated this growth in 2022-23 at 6.3 per cent. Again the finance minister even cast doubts on this growth figure supplied by BBS by saying that the final tally of growth could be much higher than the one stated by the BBS mainly because of the higher investment made in agriculture that was somehow not so well computed.
Studies made by organisations such as the WB on the national economies of member countries are usually not conducted with any prejudice but with an eye towards objectivity. On the other hand, assessments made by national governments in some cases may be tinged by political considerations and may not reflect the entire reality. Specially in an election year, the tendency on the part of a political government such as the one in Bangladesh, can be understandably inclined to obtaining attractive macro economic figures which then can be applied in electioneering to boost its chances for being reelected.
Thus, the figures of growth provided by our governmental sources may not be so reliable and may not reflect the actual reality. As the WB study pointed out increasing domestic volatility leading to work disruptions, squeezes in monetary policies designed to rein in inflation, etc., were important growth reducing figures in the outgoing fiscal year. These are indeed realistic reiteration of the actual conditions that people of Bangladesh themselves have been witness to throughout this financial year. Therefore, there is no use trying to hide or underestimate the impact of these on the economy.
Like in the present year, the next fiscal year is sure to be harassed by these factors of instability to be produced by unresolved political issues over holding of the national election. The financial year 2022-23, is now very nearly over. If the government has learned any vital economic lesson in the course of this embattled year, the same should be only a realization that no tinkering at the edges in terms of policies will do in addressing the main issue of the form of government to preside over the next parliamentary election.
In a situation such as the one now obtaining in Bangladesh, the all too important umbilical link between political peace and its high economic dividends or the inseparability of the two, becomes too transparent. The present ruling party in Bangladesh must take into cognizance this factor and address it effectively if it truly wants to start up fully the engines of economic growth.