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8 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 7 June, 2018 10:57:42 PM
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Execution to be a big challenge, say experts

RAFIQUL ISLAM AZAD
Execution to be a big challenge, say experts
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith places the national budget in parliament yesterday for the 2018-19 fiscal year, also the concluding budget of the ruling Awami League’s second consecutive term. Focus Bangla Photo

Country’s leading economists have said that it would be a big challenge for the government to fully implement the proposed budget, which is massive in size. They, however, appreciated different aspects of the budget, including initiating the private pension scheme and self-governing district administration. They emphasised the need to ensure transparency and accountability in implementing the budget for FY2018-19, placed by the finance minister in Parliament yesterday (Thursday).

Eminent economist Dr Kazi Khalequzzaman observed that the proposed budget is acceptable in all considerations. “I do not think that the budget will be implemented fully, but we can expect that it will be implemented significantly,” he said. He justified the increase in budget size, saying it is normal as the country’s economy is increasing, population is increasing and revenue has to be increased.

Dr Khalequzzaman, chairman of the Palli-Kormo Shohayak Foundation (PKSF), however, put emphasis on the need to reorganise the administration to implement the budget efficiently.

He said the proposed budget has made some appreciable efforts, including the option for immediate release of money, initiating private pension scheme and self-governing district administration, training programme for youths and increased allocation for agriculture.

The PKSF chief, however, said it would be a big challenge for the government to implement the budget and achieve the target of revenue collection.

Former adviser to a caretaker government, Dr AB Mirza Azizul Islam, said the budget, massive in size, cannot be implemented.

The previous experience shows that the budget implementation increases from 13 to 15 per cent each year from the previous one.

This time, it will need an increase of 25 per cent from that of the present fiscal. This is not possible, he observed. He welcomed the effort to increase the budget allocation for social safety nets and suggested that measures be taken to avoid its leakage so that its beneficiaries get the facilities.

The former adviser to the finance ministry, however, said that lessening allocation in health and education sectors is not desirable. The government should stress the need for developing human resources, he added.

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, a macro-economist and distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), termed the budget as stagnant.

He said it  reflects the budgets of the last two decades. The prevailing new situation and new mode of pressure faced by the country have not been considered in the budget. The maintenance costs and expenditure for Rohingya people were also not mentioned in the budget, he added. He further said the budget missed many things, including problems in the finance and banking sector. Dr Ahsan H. Mansur, executive director of  the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh, said there is no qualitative change in the new budget.

Referring to the increased allocation for the social safety nets, Masur said about one crore people are dependent on government aid. Now the government has to find it out whether these people are getting the aid and the appropriate people are getting it. It has also to evaluate whether people are being discouraged to work in the name of social safety nets, he added.

He suggested bringing reform in the system to provide government aid under the social safety net. However, Mansur appreciated the private pension scheme initiative, saying more research and a policy are needed to implement it gradually.

He termed the plan to include 1,000 schools and madrasas under the Monthly Payment Order (MPO) scheme as unnecessary, saying it would create jobs for unskilled people.

The president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries, Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, highlighted the need to ensure transparency, accountability and monitoring in implementing the budget, which is the largest ever in size.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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