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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Vocal for 'Overstated' Policies?

Dr. Zaidi Sattar, Chairman, Policy Research Instiute (PRI), writes the following article on the various forecasts on the GDP growth rate of FY13 made by various organizations. Surprisingly, Dr. Zaidi attacked those forecasts without giving any strong logic.

Link of the article.

Comment: It is surprising that after working so many years at the global lending organizations like the World Bank, which has been spreading the philosophy of attaining higher GDP growth to reduce poverty at a faster rate in developing countries, Dr. Zaidi Sattar is now questioning the use of GDP growth to represent economic progress, especially when it is more and more visible that economic policy prescribed by him and some of his colleagues (6th Five Year Plan) gives the gloomy picture of attaining the vision of Bangladeshi people to become a middle income country by 2021. It is MORE surprising, how being a Bangladeshi citizen, economist like Zaidi Sattar forgot to incorporate the hartal as another factor while forecasting GDP of Bangladesh, especially in the period before the general election! If forecasting unbelievable numbers is not the sin, then how come they expect that talking on the true scenario of GDP would not be the right approach?

On the issue of indicating GDP range, it would be worthwhile to know what Dr. Zaidi used to do a few years back when he was the World Bank economist. People at least have the right to know his previous style.  

If readers recall the last year’s GDP growth, it was 6.3%. IMF’s predictions for the current year is less than 6.0%, say 5.9%, while the corresponding figures from the World Bank and ADB are 5.8% and 5.7%, respectively.  Now, if one compares the current year’s GDP growth with the target one prescribed in 6th Five Year Plan, that would be totally unacceptable and illogical because GDP growth rate in the current year is based on the basis of achieved GDP in the previous year. (One can’t compare the reality with dream; rather one should compare today’s reality with the one that one achieved yesterday.) So, what’re the gap between actual GDP growth in FY12 (6.3%) and the forecasts of international agencies? With IMF, the gap is only 0.4%, the respective gaps are 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively, in the case of World Bank and ADB. Where is wrong here?

There is serious lack of good arguments in this article; rather it shows the unnecessary anger on those, who portray the reality. Though showing anger is not unexpected because things are not going on according to the 6th Five Year Plan of Bangladesh that made by a group of economist led by Dr. Zaidi.     Finally, by the name of ‘hartal’, is he trying to shed on ‘overstated’ policies that he along with his colleagues took in formulating country’s 6th Five Year Plan? If there is any such suspicion, that won’t be surprise also!

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