14 June 2019, Fri, 7:46

Proposed budget is not public-friendly; Jamaat Ameer urges authority to comply expert’s suggestions

Ameer of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Maqbul Ahmad has issued the following statement on 14 June 2019 reacting to the 523,190-crore taka highly ambitious budget for the fiscal year 2019-20, declared by the finance minister of the incumbent authoritarian government AHM Mustafa Kamal in the national parliament on 13th June.

“The experts and financial analysts already opined that the proposed budget is highly ambitious and impractical, and the government would not be able to implement it. By the end of the year, the government would be compelled to modify the budget, they added.

TK 2 lac 2 thousand 721 crore is the targeted ADP of this budget. In the proposed budget, total allocation for operating and other expenditures is Tk 320,469 crore, and allocation for the annual development program is Tk 202,721 crore. Depending on the planned tax management steps, the total revenue collection has been estimated to be Tk 377,810 crore in 2019-20. Out of this, Tk 325,660 crore will be collected through the National Board of Revenue. Tax revenue from non-NBR sources have been estimated at Tk 14,500 crore. Besides, non-tax revenue is estimated at Tk 37,710 crore. The overall budget deficit will be Tk 145,380 crore, which is 5 per cent of GDP. In financing the deficit, Tk 68,016 crore will come from external sources and Tk 77,363 crore from domestic sources. Almost one third of the budget is loan based.

Prior to declare budget, the due loan for Bangladesh has reached 2 lac 81 thousand 568 crore taka. On an average, every citizen is living with debt of 67,500 taka. The government also failed to meet its revenue target due to its corruption and mismanagement. Besides, bribery, interest, corruption, terrorism and deterioration of law and order became major barrier to budget implementation. These crises also halted foreign investment procedure totally.

The government set the GDP target 8.2 percent. In the previous fiscal year, the targeted GDP was 7.86 percent which could not be achieved. Though the government is manipulating the scenario to establish their claim of achieving GDP, but the economists are not agreed with such view.

Country’s economy is suffering the unbearable setback, highest in last 48 years. A huge mountain of loan defaulters has been created. Till last March, the defaulted loan amount was one lac 10 thousand 874 crore taka. In last three months, 17 thousand crore taka added to this cart.

The ruling party men’s looting and corruption in various public and private banks have created a havoc in national economy. The banking and capital markets are at a stake. Unemployment crisis has reached at its peak stage. The proposed budget did not place any outline of creating employment opportunities. At present, 47 percent graduate and 31% doctors and engineers are jobless. The finance minister said about some of his plans of employing 3 crore people by 2030, which is ridiculous.

Right now, more than 4 crore people are living below the poverty line. 2.5 crore children are suffering from malnutrition. The proposed budget has no good news for the low, middle and lower-middle income people. Rather, the budget proposed to impose 4 stages of tax on these sections. On the contrary, the minister tried to please the rich communities by allowing them a significant level of surcharges.

Though the surcharge limit for the rich people has been relaxed more. While, the tax-free level is set again at 2 lac and 50 thousand taka which is nothing but a farce with the low-income people. It should be taka 5 lac at least.

The budget proposed to increase the price of baby food, liquid milks, sugar, glucose, honey, edible oil, electric motor, glass, plate, burner, smart phone and mobile phone’s talk time. These proposals completely contradict the interest of the mass people. On the contrary, the authority once again gave chance to whitening black money and indulged corruption at massive level.

The budget proposed only 40.5 percent for the development activities. 5.4 percent money has been allocated for the agriculture although the government is verbally making noise to establish their claim that they have done too many things for the farmer. The authority also allocated 16.75 percent for the education sector. It should be increased 20 percent at least.

The government could not meet its revenue target last year and they will suffer in the upcoming year as well. The budget did not place any directives to create employment opportunities. This budget is not people-friendly at all. Though some solvent quarters became happy with this budget, but it will ingrain frustration and disappointment among the poor communities. As the present government is not elected, so they could overlook the interest the majority section of the population.

Under the circumstances, to make the budget more pro-people, I am urging the concerned authorities to take the budget reviews of the financial experts and civil societies into their consideration in order to modify the proposed budget accordingly.