Dhaka June 10 2022 :
The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised a media briefing session titled CPD’s Analysis of the National Budget FY2022-23 on Friday at a city hotel as immediate comments on the national budget for FY 2022-23 under its Independent Review of Bangladesh’s Development (IRBD) programme.
The think tank has suggested recommendations to be accounted by the government are:
The budget for FY23 needed to be innovative in approach, flexibility in allocative priorities and target specific in terms of budgetary measures to address the attendant challenges.
The budget speech could diagnose the symptoms, but failed to prescribe the required medication.
Better identification of contexts and challenges.
Expressing accountability by delineating the progress of past promises will be the key.
Continuation of fiscal measures to protect domestic industries is needed.
Harmonization of tax structure in case of export-oriented industries will be crucial.
Relatively less election-focused budget has been proposed.
Inflationary issues need to be addressed in the proposed budget.
Assure citizens regarding keeping the administered prices at the same level.
Expand social safety net allocations in view of rising demand.
The budget has welcomed illicit or illegal income and capital flight.
Provide more support to higher income group while keeping the low and middle income groups at bay.
Overall, with its current structure and proposed measures, the budget appears to be insufficient in terms of needed measures, incomplete in terms of outlining strategies and inadequate in terms of addressing the present macroeconomic challenges.
CPD had earlier emphasized the need for protecting the low and limited earners in the country and focusing on inflation management and restoration of macroeconomic stability by coming out of GDP growth obsession.
To this end, use of appropriate fiscal policy supported by complementary monetary policy has been emphasized.
Allow tax concession to essential commodities at both import and domestic stages.
Provide tax reliefs to middle income groups.
Allocate adequate resources for subsidies for keeping the administered prices of petroleum products, electricity, gas, and fertilizer.
Expand social safety net provisions both in terms of coverage and the amount of per capita allocation.
Bangladesh’s budget transparency has decreased over the years due to fewer number of budget documents being publicly available.
Six important observations can be made for Annual Development Programme (ADP) FY23.
No significant change in the structure of ADP allocation for FY23 can be observed.
Physical Infrastructure-related sectors have continued to dominate.
Utilisation of foreign aid will be critical for ADP implementation.
The problem site Carryover And Time-overrun projects will persist in FY23.
Progress of mega projects implementation is unsatisfactory.
The wait may continue with consequent adverse impacts on public service delivery and crowding-in private sector investment.
The delay in implementing mega projects will also have repercussions in the form cost escalation.
The prioritization exercise of ADP projects is confusing.
269 completing projects have been tagged as “low priority”.
17 of the 20 mega projects in the ADP for FY23 are marked as “low priority” but have received significant allocations.
However, most of the unapproved new projects (633 and another 150 seeking foreign funds) have been tagged as “high priority”.
ADP for FY23 again marked with high number of projects with ‘symbolic allocations’.
Dr Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director; Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow; Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Research Director; and Towfiqul Islam Khan, Senior Research Fellow, CPD were discussants, among others, in the briefing.
Experts, Researchers, Economists, Social Activists and Media took part in the briefing session.
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