July 18, 2024, 11:26 am

Special Correspondent

2024-07-07 13:46:06 BdST

NBR, EPB responsible for export data mismatch

Bangladesh Bank has blamed the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) for the mismatch of US$23 billion ($2,334 crore) in export accounts in 20 months of the past two financial years.

The central bank has informed the government of this occurrence through a letter.

Due to this significant shortfall, various economic indicators in the country have been adversely affected, it said.

The current account has gone from surplus to deficit due to decline in exports. And as the target of repatriated money against exports fell, the fiscal account turned from deficit to surplus, the letter read.

The central bank sent the letter to the Ministry of Finance for the government's attention.

According to the EPB data, Bangladesh’s exports were $9,314 crore in the last 20 months (first 10 months of the fiscal year 2023-24 and first 10 months of the previous fiscal year 2022-23).

On the other hand, Bangladesh Bank now says that the exports were $6,980 crore during that time.

So, there is a mismatch of $2,334 crore or 25% of export data. The data came on Wednesday through a regular update on the balance of payments.

According to the Bangladesh Bank letter, the central bank obtained export data from scheduled banks and verified them against statistics provided by the NBR.

As a result, there is not much difference between the data and the actual export.

Identifying the reasons for the discrepancy between the export data collected by Bangladesh Bank and published by EPB, the regulator said, Bangladesh Bank found multiple entries, equivalent to 20% of the total dataset.

The ratio of multiple entries to total exports in the previous months was 14%. The Bangladesh Bank said multiple entries of shipments by customs officials at the NBR were the main reason.

In the case of garment orders under a manufacturing process known as cutting, making and trimming (CMT), the EPB calculated the prices of fabrics and all accessories, although it was supposed to take into account the making charge only.

EPB has sometimes also input sample items shipped abroad for buyers that were counted as exports, which means a certain value was assigned to those items with no export value.

In the letter, Bangladesh Bank also said, sales by companies inside the Export Processing Zones (EPZs) were counted twice -- first during shipment from the EPZs to local firms and second during shipment from the ports by the exporters.

The document also said actual proceeds usually fall below the initial value mentioned in the letters of credit (LC).

The EPB did not adjust the discrepancy later. Losses stemming from stock-lot sales, discounts and commissions, were not adjusted either by the EPB.

According to the letter, Bangladesh Bank collects information on import expenditure, export income, invisible expenditure, invisible income, remittance from all banks, EPB, NBR and other institutions on a monthly basis and prepares a balance of payments statement.

It also said that NBR sends the country's export (shipment) data to Bangladesh Bank and EPB every month. It is in this context that the country's export (shipment) information/data is published by EPB.

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