ISLAMABAD - The economic managers of the country has decided to delay the announcement of budget for the fiscal year 2012-13 owing to the alleged wrong calculation of the GDP growth by National Accounts Committee (NAC) last week, sources said on Friday.

Sources informed The Nation that the budget was now likely to be announced in the first week of June instead of last week of May as announced earlier. The main reason behind the possible delay is the erroneous calculation by the NAC, as it projected that the growth would be around 3.2 per cent. However, sources said the Finance Ministry and Planning Commission of Pakistan are forecasting that country's GDP growth would be around four per cent in the financial year 2011-12.

Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Friday chaired a meeting of the Governing Council of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), which decided that a NAC meeting would be held on May 9 to re-calculate the figure of economic growth and other targets. The NAC meeting is directed to use old base year (1999-2000) instead of new base year (2005-06) that created confusion among the economic managers of the country.

It might be mentioned here that the government had also delayed the meeting of Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) till May 10, which was supposed to meet on Wednesday to finalise the developmental budget worth of over Rs 820 billion for the upcoming financial year due to the same wrongly calculated growth figure.

The date of National Economic Council (NEC) was also likely to be change from May 14, sources maintained.

Meanwhile, a Finance Ministry handout said a meeting of the Governing Council of the PBS deliberated on various items of the agenda including recently conducted National Accounts rebasing exercise. Secretary Statistics Division Sohail Ahmad and Director-General Pakistan Bureau of Statistics Arif Mahmood Cheema presented the details regarding the rebasing exercise. The members of the council raised many observations and concerns regarding the methodology, the quality of primary data base on various sectors of the economy, analytical framework and the restructuring steps taken by PBS to adjust the GDP of the past 10 years.

The Council also expressed concerns on lack of adequate consultations with stakeholders including academia and multilaterals on the technical aspects prior to taking rebasing data to the National Accounts Committee as was done during the previous rebasing exercise.

After detailed and comprehensive deliberations, the meeting asked the PBS to prepare and present a comprehensive background paper highlighting the following, logic for rebasing, process adopted including discussions with various stakeholders, methodology including all the measures taken to rebase the data, changes in key macro-economic variables by sector and year due to the rebasing and their explanations and comparison of data with old series of pre 1999-2000 and 2005-06 rebasing.

The PBS representative said the preparation of required analytical paper based on the above parameters would take about four weeks. It was decided to take the view of the Governing Council to the National Accounts Committee for which a meeting would be convened shortly.

The Statistics Division was advised to provide the National Accounts on the old base as well as to facilitate comparison with the new one. It was decided that the whole exercise should be conducted in a transparent way with public outreach to explain the methodology and results in a professional manner.

The Governing Council also undertook decisions on strengthening the working of the PBS, including transparent recruitment for some positions.

The meeting was also attended Dr Shamshad Akhtar, Dr Zeba Sethar, Dr Mehtab Karim, Dr Naveed Hamid and Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin.

Erroneous calculations, dubious results