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VOL 23 NO 52 REGD NO DA 1589 | Dhaka, Staurday , January 2 2016
Posted : 02 Jan, 2016 22:27:03 AA-A+
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Economic Census - 2013 findings

The final report of the Economic Census-2013 -- the third one conducted since 1986 - has, in a way, hinted at some clues to the country's economy showing strength and resilience, even during its difficult times. Over a period of one decade since 2003, non-farm economic establishments increased 111 per cent in the country and the major expansion had taken place in rural areas. What was more significant was that the number of family-based economic establishments had recorded a substantial rise, by nearly 2.5 million. And much in line with such an expansion, the employment opportunities in the rural non-farm sectors more than doubled during the period under review. 


The significant increase in the number of economic establishments, mostly small and medium in size, does indicate a gradual strengthening of the rural economy, largely belying the claims about sluggishness prevailing there. This buoyancy is mainly attributable to efforts at individual level. If not formal credit, there has been a noticeable rise in the flow of resources into rural areas, thanks to rising volume of remittance and use of mobile phones in cash transfer, more flow of public resources and dissemination of market information. Besides, the access to markets, big and small, has now become easier than before because of improved road communications. These days, even the remotest places are linked either to national or regional highways. 


Another notable finding of the census relates to the women making their presence in economic activities more prominent. A good number of them are now heading economic establishments. There had been a five-fold increase in the number of such establishments owned by women between 2003 and 2013.  Besides, more than 4.5 million women were found working in different economic units in 2013. During the last two years, more women have become owners of new establishments and taken up employment in non-farm economic units. That women have thus been gaining a better foothold than before, so far economic activities are concerned, could also be conjectured from media reports, well before the publication of the census report. Both electronic and print media often publish reports on some commendable feats of women entrepreneurs in both urban and rural areas. 


Since most of the economic units are located in rural areas, one can well assume that they do not usually receive the desirable level of official patronisation. Their performance in terms of output would have been far better, had there been such patronage through public policy support in right direction and also in right time. Besides, the government could also get some amount of revenue from those economic activities. The census in question has revealed that more than a half of the economic establishments have been in operation without any sort of registration and about 90 per cent of them do not have VAT (value added tax) registration. The census has thus revealed a few facts about the economy that deserve priority attention of the policymakers.  


 
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