Discrepancy in export earning due to incoordination among 3 govt agencies: Salman F Rahman

Prime minister’s adviser on private industry and investment Salman F Rahman speaks at a roundtable on 7 July 2024Prothom Alo

Lack of coordination among the three agencies of the government was behind the discrepancy in the export data, said the prime minister’s adviser on private industry and investment Salman F Rahman Sunday.

He further said the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh Bank (BB) and National Board of Revenue (NBR) could not coordinate among themselves earlier.

However, the issue has been resolved and there will be no more confusion about export data in future, he stated today while addressing as the chief guest at a roundtable on digitalising Bangladesh’s international trade at a city hotel.

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) organised the roundtable that was chaired by ICC Bangladesh president Mahbubur Rahman.

The organisation’s vice president and Ha-Meem Group managing director AK Azad also spoke at the discussion.

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Startling discrepancy in export earnings has come to light as the authorities have recently wiped out export records worth $23.34 billion.

The EPB initially reported $93.14 billion in exports for the first 10 months of the fiscal year 2023-24 and the same period in 2022-23.

Speaking about this, Salman F Rahman said, “EPB collects export data through several processes. There were some mistakes in it and in some cases there was incoordination. For example, sometimes buyers send clothes free of cost. They (the buyers) only pay the manufacturing wages (CMT - cut, make and trim) if garments made of those fabrics are exported. That money (export income) is deposited in Bangladesh Bank. But EPB shows the whole price (cost of the products including cloth). This has created a discrepancy in the data of Bangladesh Bank and EPB. But I think EPB did not make any mistake here. There was some kind of incoordination.”

Salman F Rahman further said that EPB has taken account of export of goods from Export Processing Zone (EPZ) twice.

“They made a mistake here. However, there has been a solution to this. I hope there will be no more such confusion in the future. The government agencies will work with coordination among themselves,” he added.

Speaking at the end of the event, AK Azad told newspersons, “Our (businesspersons’) export data was not matching with the data of EPB for many days. Where our export growth is negative, EPB shows this positive. We do not know how EPB does this.”

Stressing that the mistakes in EPB’s data collection need to be corrected, the Ha-Meem Group MD, also a member of parliament, said, “Such mistakes might be nagative for the image of the country."