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Make public implementation rate of previous budget: Speakers

June 12, 2019 00:00:00

FE Report

Speakers at a dialogue on Tuesday said the implementation rate of previous national budget should be discussed publicly before placing a fresh annual expenditure for a new financial year.

There should also be a follow up to ascertain how many budget proposals and recommendations made by different focus groups are taken into account by government to prepare national budget for a particular fiscal year (FY), they suggested at the Citizen's Dialogue in the city ahead of the national budget for FY 2019-20.

Shushashoner Jonno Procharavijan organised the programme at the Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) auditorium at Topkhana Road.

Former governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB) Dr Atiur Rahman addressed the programme as the key discussant.

Shushashoner Jonno Procharavijan (SUPRO) or Campaign for Good Governance is a network of local NGOs and CSOs to promote right based approach and campaign for good governance and economic justice.

SUPRO Chairperson Abdul Awal chaired the event where Dhaka University (DU) Professor Dr M Abu Yousuf, Shirin Akhter, MP, and Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) Secretary Ruhin Hossain Prince were also present and spoke.

Focusing on implementation of national budget, Atiur Rahman said discussion should be held on what portion of a budget is implemented and what remained unimplemented.

"The government set a revenue target in the national budget, if the revenue collection doesn't reach the target, the reasons behind missing the target should be explained before placing another budget," he said.

Mr Rahman said many seminars and discussions are organised every year to place proposals and recommendations ahead of the budget but there is no follow-up or a process to ascertain how many of these proposals are reflected in the annual expenditure.

Accountability will be ensured if the finance minister on his budget speech notes that the government has considered this or that proposals given by different platforms, he said.

Indicating the scheme for whitening black money, the former central bank governor said: "I have heard that the government may allow individuals to whiten their undisclosed money through investing it in industries by paying a tax of 10 per cent on the amount."

The government is trying to bring back the money that was siphoned from the country but at the same time the money launderers should also be made accountable, Atiur added.

Speaking at the programme, Prof Yousuf metioned there is no draft budget for discussion in Bangladesh. He said neighbouring country India unveils a draft budget six weeks before placing the final one for discussion. Bangladesh can follow that strategy too, said Yousuf, a professor of the development studies.

Allocating funds for underprivileged communities is not enough, he noted, saying a proper plan is also needed to spend the money in effective way.

Questioning the necessity of so many banks in the country, he said banks are set up to do business.

"If it (bank) can't make profit, it should be shut, why the government needs to help them if they are in trouble," he added.

Shirin Akther stressed the need for ensuring good governance in government expenditure and project implementation for better implementation of national budget.


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