Home Bangladesh Exports showed$65 b more than actual in 10-yr
Bangladesh - 2 weeks ago

Exports showed$65 b more than actual in 10-yr

4-govt agencies hold meeting yesterday

Mahfuz Emran: In the first 10 months of the last financial year, the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), theexport procurement agency, showed about $14 billion more than actual exports. And in the last 10 years, exports have shown more than $65 billion. It is Tk 7 lakh 63 thousand crores or almost equal to the budget of the current financial year. This information is known from sources of Bangladesh Bank and EPB. A meeting of four government agencies has been convened at EPB amid criticism from various quarters over discrepancies in export data yesterday.
It is reported that the concerned officials of Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, National Board of Revenue (NBR) and EPB have presented in meeting. In the meeting, it was discussed whether the information of the last two fiscal years will be corrected or the previous mistakes will be corrected.
Apart from this, there was also discussion on other issues including ensuring the correctness of all types of government information and improving coordination among themselves.
Again, the main task of EPB is to work on export development. The Bureau of Statistics is responsible
for publishing government statistics. As a result, it is discussed on whether export information will be published from BBS instead of EPB in the future.
Those concerned said that the businessmen of the export sector have been talking about increasing the export for a long time. Many have publicly questioned the accuracy of EPB data. Again, there have been reports in the media about the big difference between EPB and Bangladesh Bank. For unseen reasons, the government has not taken up the matter so far; Rather, various policies have been formulated based on wrong information. However, the IMF recently questioned the discrepancy between NBR data and actual exports. After this, Bangladesh Bank, NBR and EPB held several meetings and experimentally verified the data of several exports. There various inconsistencies arise including showing the same export multiple times, giving non-export information. The issue of credibility of official data has come under renewed discussion after such a large discrepancy with actual exports.
Mohammad Hatem, executive president of BKMEA, an association of knitwear industry owners, told that November 2022 suddenly showed an export of more than $5 billion. Then he talked about it at different levels. His statement was that the traders did not export so much. They don’t know who did it. But instead of taking their statements into account, why is he questioning the credibility of government information? Various policies have been made based on this wrong information. Their benefits have been reduced. Meanwhile, export incentives have been reduced. By this the exporters are being pushed back in the competition. In whose interest this is being done, is not understood.
EPB publishes export data based on National Board of Revenue (NBR) data. And the Central Bank prepares the Balance of Foreign Exchange (BOP) report in the light of EPB data. Although Bangladesh Bank collects actual export data from local banks. The release of BOP data for the first time in April last year revealed a major outage, throwing all accounts upside down. In fact, in the 10 months till April of the financial year 2023-24, Tk 3,367 crores of goods have been shipped. Where EPB showed $4,747 million. It showed a current account surplus of $5.80 billion as of last March. In April, the deficit was found to be $5.73 billion. And financially, instead of a deficit of $9.26 billion until March, there was a surplus of $2.23 billion in April.
Bangladesh Bank has recently written to the Ministry of Finance with an explanation regarding the reversal as BOP as a result of this wrong information of exports. The letter said, multiple entries of the same EXP and HS code of the product were found in the NBR data. In case of CMT, there is a rule to show only making charges as export, but NBR has shown everything as export including cloth prices. Sample items also show export, in-country sales from EPZ are considered export and then re-export. Usually, the actual export value is found to be lower than the opening LC value but EPB does not exclude it. Also, EPB does not adjust losses due to stock lots, discounts and commissions. Until now trade credit in BOP was significantly higher due to the gap between shipment of export goods and actual export earnings. Now the balance of payment (BOP) has turned upside down due to accurate statistics.
How many shown in any year?
According to the data of Bangladesh Bank, in the 10 years from 2014-15 fiscal year to 2023-24 fiscal year (April), actual exports were $l340 billion. During this period, the export as EPB was shown to be $340 billion. This means that over the last 10 years the actual exports have shown an excess of $64.66 billion. The final export figures for the financial year 2023-24 are not yet available. However, the actual export of $33.67 billion till April is shown as $47.47 billion. This means an overstatement of $13.80 billion.
In the fiscal year 2022-23, the actual exports were $43.57 billion. However, EPB showed $55.56 billion. Similarly, in the fiscal year 2021-22, $8.48 billion was shown higher than $4.79 billion in the previous fiscal year and $3.71 billion in the previous fiscal year. In the fiscal year 2018-19, the actual export of $33.37 billion is shown as $40.53 billion. Government agency EPB showed more than $4.13 billion in the previous financial year, $4.56 billion in 2016-17 financial year, $4 billion in the previous financial year and $2.05 billion in 2014-15 financial year.
How much is reserve?
There has also been a big change in the country’s foreign exchange reserves in the face of IMF questions. So far, the central bank used to publish an account of reserves of its own. However, since July last year, the accounts have to be published according to the internationally accepted method BPM6 manual. Accordingly, at the end of last June, the amount of reserves stood at $21.79 billion. And the amount of net reserves stood at $16.77 billion. This is the first time that it has been published. Apart from this, the amount of reserves is $26.81 billion according to the way that was calculated until now, including investments in various sectors including EDF. In the history of the country in August 2021, the reserve reached the highest level of $48.06 billion.

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