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Bangladesh: Steps Underway to Strengthen BBS
Source: thefinancialexpress-bd.com
Source Date: Saturday, August 07, 2010
Country: Bangladesh
Created: Aug 09, 2010

The government has moved to strengthen the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) by recruiting manpower and revising the methodology of survey to avoid mismatch between its own data and those of other state-owned entities.

The BBS has placed a proposal to raise manpower to 6500 from 4100 as it is facing acute shortage of human resource. It has also proposed to raise fund allocation and arrange training of statistical officers capacity building.

The proposal on strengthening the BBS has been placed before the establishment ministry recently.

Officials said the BBS has only 23 regional offices in as many districts out of 64. Each of the 23 offices has only one or two officials for collecting field-level data against the sanctioned post of four.

The BBS has been facing difficulties to collect field-level agricultural or manpower data with the insufficient manpower.

A total of 1500 posts still remain vacant in the BBS as recruitment of manpower is suspended for five to six years, officials said.

The BBS also needs online connectivity with its field-offices to compile data within the shortest possible time as per the digital Bangladesh vision of the present government.

Md. Shajahan Ali Mollah, director general (DG) of BBS, said: "The BBS has been running its activities with acute manpower and fund shortage."

It receives Tk 10 million annually for carrying out different studies, he said.

"The methodology of collecting field level data will be coordinated soon. The statistical mismatch between the BBS and other government entities will be minimised with the move," he said.

Data of agriculture wing of the government and BBS field offices will be coordinated before being published, he added.

The BBS collects data from field levels to prepare consumer price index (CPI) for measuring inflation.

"We have also sought to raise number of Upazilla (district town) officer to nine from four to collect accurate data for CPI," the BBS chief said.

"The government is actively considering our proposal. We expect a positive response from the higher authority soon,"

The BBS chief said the inflation for 2009-2010 will be above 7.0 per cent as per prices of food and non-food items, he added.

Prices of food and non-food items went up in the past financial year

Average inflation was 6.66 per cent in 2008-09 while 9.93 per cent in 2007-08, 7.22 per cent in 2006-07 and 7.17 per cent in 2005-06.

The government aims to contain inflation below 6.50 per cent in 2010-2011 fiscal by reining in prices of essentials.

"The inflation rates will be more accurate soon as we are going to update base-year of inflation estimation," BBS chief said.

The BBS has been following System of National Accounts (SNA) of 1993, which will be updated soon, he added.

Different food and non-food items like event management, flower business were absent in the SNA, but it contributes a significant part to the economy in recent years, he said.

Officials underscored the need for a 'National Statistical Act' in a bid to follow same methodology of data collection.
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