Govt rebases national accounts

-The rebasing exercise would help the incumbent regime show jacked-up GDP growth figures and other key economic indicators

ISLAMABAD: In an attempt to balloon up the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth figures for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-22, the government has rebased the national accounts, changing the base year from FY 2005-6 to FY 2015-16.

The decision to rebase the national accounts was made during the 104th meeting of the National Accounts Committee (NAC), held at the Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives.  

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) being a National Statistical Organisation has to comply with international standards while compiling national indicators of economy. The methodology adopted while rebasing the national accounts is in line with the 2008 System of National Accounts (SNA).

According to sources, the rebasing exercise would help the incumbent regime show jacked-up GDP growth figures and other key economic indicators. However, the exercise will also have a negative impact on certain economic indicators. For instance, with the ballooning GDP growth rate, total public debt as a percentage of GDP will improve but on the other hand, FBR’s tax-to-GDP ratio may worsen.

With rebasing and a level shift of the economy from Rs29.1 trillion to Rs. 32.7 trillion in 2015- 16, the GDP at market prices increased to Rs55.5 trillion in 2021, and Gross National Income (GNI) increased to Rs59.3 trillion. Moreover, per capita income increased to Rs266,614 with the size of the economy reaching $346.76 billion in 2020-21

According to sources, in line with best practice adopted by most countries, the Ministry of Planning and PBS have decided to devise a mechanism to rebase national accounts as well as price statistics, after every five years, as both go in tandem to capture more areas and activities, which have taken place in the last few years.

The last rebasing of national accounts was done in 2005-6. 

Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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