Non-farm units see 118pc growth, regional disparity unchanged

Though the country experienced a 118 percent growth in non-farm economic units over the last 10 years, regional disparity still remains as usual, reveals the preliminary findings of the Economic Census 2013.

The preliminary report of the Economic Census 2013 was launched by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics at its Agargaon headquarters on Sunday.

The previous Economic Census, conducted over a three-year period from 2001 to 2003, showed that the country had about 37 lakh non-farm economic units, reports UNB.

The preliminary findings of the latest Census, conducted over four months’ time from February to May this year, showed that the number of economic units has increased from 37 lakhs to 82 lakhs over the last 10 years, which is a 118 percent increase.

BBS-logoHowever, regional disparity remains almost the same over the decade between the two censuses. The preliminary report of the 2013 Census showed that 32.2 percent of the 81 lakh economic units are located in Dhaka division, 17.1 percent in Chittagong, 15.1 percent in Rajshahi, 13.5 percent in Rangpur, 12.8 percent in Khulna, 4.8 percent in Barishal and 4.5 percent in Sylhet.

According to the 2001-2003 Census, the gap between Dhaka and other division almost remained the same. 32.2 percent and 18.1 percent economic establishments was located in Dhaka and Chittagong respectively.

Interestingly, Rajshahi and Rangpur toppled Khulna over the last decade in terms of number of economic units in the country. Khulna was the third among the divisions in terms of economic units back in 2001-2003, but in the 2013 Census, the division stood fifth – getting behind Rajshahi and Rangpur.

Speaking at the launching of the preliminary report of the Economic Census 2013, its project director Dilder Hossain also noted that the growth in the number of economic units over the last decade is mainly due to the development of the rural economy.

“The growth was 150.6 percent in rural areas and 62.9 percent in urban areas,” he said.

The preliminary results also show that service sectors are giving the lead to the growth of economic units, he said.

According to the report, 45.91 percent of the economic units deal with the business of motor vehicles, whereas 13.65 percent with transportation and storage, 11.76 with production and 8.48 percent with other services.

Statistics and Information Division (SID) Secretary Nojibur Rahman said the huge growth in non-farm economic units indicate that the country’s economy is shifting from an agro-based one towards a mixed economy of services and industries.

In his address as the chief guest, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the only bleak factor in the growth of Bangladesh economy is that there has been no significant growth in the manufacturing sector.  “It remains almost the same as 20 years back,” he said.

Presided over by Planning Minister AK Khandker, the launching was also addressed by Industries Minister Dilip Barua, Prime Minister’s Advisor to Economic Affairs Mashiur Rahman and Board of Investment (BoI) executive chairman Syed Abdus Samad.