Per capita income rises to $690: Growth rate decreases due to global recession, says BBS

Per capita income in Bangladesh shot up to $690 this fiscal year (FY) from the previous year’s $608 demonstrating the country’s overall income significantly increased though GDP growth fell.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) calculated per capita income in the current FY, based on its estimate of population at 14.42 crore. The estimated population last year was 14.24 crore.

In terms of local currency, per capita income this year is Tk 47,373 compared to Tk 41,728 last year, the BBS said.

GDP growth decreased by 0.31 percentage point due to the global recession and would stand at 5.88 percent.

Meanwhile, a World Bank (WB) report says poverty may increase by 0.3 percentage point due to the fall in GDP growth.

According to the BBS estimate, agricultural growth this FY is 4.81 per cent, which was 2.93 percent last year.

A high official of Bangladesh Bank(BB) said farm sector growth greatly contributed to the increase of income. Increased growth in many sections of the service sector also added to this. Besides, remittance inflow is still on the rise, and it is a major cause of the income hike.

Last month, the WB released a report titled “Bangladesh: semi-annual economic update” which said economic slowdown is likely to increase poverty rate next year and the year that follows due to the global financial meltdown. As growth was slow in the current FY, poverty rate would increase by 0.3 percentage point in FY 2010. In FY 2011, it is likely to increase by 0.5 – 0.7 percentage point depending on how growth would be affected.

Director General of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Mustafa K Mujeri mentioned that according to the 2005 household expenditure survey (the latest such survey by the BBS) income inequality increased further. The fall in poverty rate did not match income increase.

Mustafa said although per capita income increased this FY, the BBS estimate does not show whether per head income of the poor rose. But generally it could be said that since per capita income rose, every one got a share of it to some extent.

He however said if there is more growth in agriculture sector and SMEs (small and medium enterprises), income of the poor would go up.

The BIDS director general pointed out that remittance played an important role in the increase of per capita income, and stressed sending skilled labour abroad so that remittance inflow does not fall despite the global recession.

If readymade garments sector is affected by the meltdown, employment generation would suffer lowering income of the poor, he added.

Source: The Daily Star, 05 May 2009


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