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The Proposed National Budget 2018-19: Some Considerations

The authorities concerned including the government should ensure good governance,
transparency, accountability and responsibility in different levels of the country. The evaluation
of projects and investment in these projects are important whereas the achievement of the
revenue collection target is crucial.

A budget of a huge and wonderful amount, the achievement of high GDP and control in the
inflation rate- are some of the positive aspects of this proposed budget.

There are some considerable limitations of this budget. The hampering of constructive criticism
in the parliament about the proposed budget in the absence of an effective opposition party is
alarming whereas there has been a great deal of wastage of resources in our country because of
the vast loss in the govt. institutions. There is a good increase in liability as the 87% of the
development expenditure will come from the deficit budget.

The income of the govt. employees has been enhanced though productivity in that proportion
hasn’t been increased. It’s a huge responsibility for Bangladesh to be a lower-middle income
country as there is a possibility of the reduction of growth, foreign opportunities etc., the
operation of efficient economic initiatives is crucial in this respect.

It’s a budget of regular continuity in the last 10 years. Pathetically, there are no specific
instructions in the expansion of trade and commerce whereas there are no obvious initiatives to
enhance private investment. It’s a budget of a good-bad, regular and stagnant-situation budget.
The politics of election has been encouraged but the expanding middle-income people have been
neglected.

How the high level of growth has performed better in the reduction of poverty is a crucial issue.
It’s pathetic for the merit-based economy that capital and resources have been encouraged in lieu
of labour and enthusiasm in this budget. Growth, investment, remittance, export income,
inflation and social security issue are the strong aspects of this budget. On the contrary, the
weakness in revenue collection and ADP implementation, lack of justifiable price for the
farmers, the pressure in the foreign income and expenditure and the enhancement of food
inflation are some of the limitations of this budget.

It’s imperative to consider how the growth has been able to bring about a positive change in the
standard of living in stead of considering the wonderful figure of this growth rate. It’s to note
that the stakeholders of the businesses blame, corruption, bureaucracy, infrastructure limitations,
interest rate and different types of administrative problems and uncertainties mostly rather than
the reduction in corporate (Bank) rate.

Many opine that the tax-free limit should be increased for all classes of people. Besides, there is
less sensitivity about the burning personal and institutional crises of the country in the budget.
It’s hoped that the government will prioritize employment-bound development budget in stead of
finance and project-based development. A clear-cut planning is necessary for the implementation
of the proposed budget. It’s imperative to scrutinize whether the goal of the expenditure has been
achieved and beneficiaries have been prized.

It’s important to give effective speeches and take efficient initiatives in facing the challenges
ahead the economy has to face. Moreover, it’s important to note that the extra expenditure will
be disbursed in public administration and interest.

The enhancement of surcharge on the assets of the rich people, the assistance in expanding local
industries through policies and their proper implementation , the facilities of disabled-friendly
medication hospitals and the exemption of VAT from the poor’s biscuits and sandals- are some
of the beneficial aspects of this proposed budget.

It’s alarming that the rate of budget implementation is decreasing day by day. It was 92 % in
2012, 83 % in 2016-17, 77% in 2017-18 and will be approximately 75% in 2018-19. The
estimated revenue and expenditure isn’t implementable whereas it’s difficult for the govt. to
secure tax because of faults in the tax structure.

Most of the people will face the pressure of tax and VAT whereas some sections of the people
will get benefit. There is no clear framework in the budget to preserve quick and sustainable
achievements. Thirteen (13) specific initiatives have been taken for the reformation of the
finance sector whereas the duty of the formation of Bank commission has been left on the next
elected govt.

Insufficient and weak communication system and the shortage and mismanagement in the energy
and electricity sector are the major strides in the advancement of economy. The govt. needs to
remember that there are no alternatives but the development of investment in FDI and private
sector.

The imposition of tax and VAT on the people of middle-income isn’t a totally good decision
whereas the reduction of corporate (Bank) tax rate will benefit the rich people. This situation will
enhance the discrimination between the rich and poor. It’s irony that the disbursement of ADP is
18000tk distributed to the MPs for the development projects, but the agriculture subsidy is only
3000tk. There have been some extent of economic development but the extent of discrimination
is widening.

The ‘Universal Pension Scheme’ is a good idea though its implementation is very tough whereas
the empowerment of the central government has been enhanced, but the local govt. system has
been marginalized. As this is an election budget, the disbursement will be enhanced in the
unproductive sectors which will influence the development budget. It’s also pathetic that there is
no special scheme in the generation and proper materialization of employment opportunities for
the potential youth who contribute the most productive, promising and significant portion of our
total population.