Prof Dr Md Salim Uddin, chairman of Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation (BHBFC) and the Executive Committee of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd (IBBL), has said the national budget for 2021-2022 fiscal year aims at bringing pace to economic activities and livelihoods through protecting lives and minimising the health risk.
“It can be said after an overall review that the budget for 2021-22 fiscal year has reflected different aspects of excellent coordination between life and livelihood,” he said in a reaction to the budget placed in Parliament on Thursday.
Prof Salim Uddin said priority has been given to health, social safety net, recovery of agriculture and economy, bringing dynamism to economic activities, attracting new investment, creation of new entrepreneurs and tax exemption.
He said the benefits and success of the proposed budget depend on proper implementation. “Expenditure plans should be proportional on a monthly or quarterly basis. Or else, there’ll uncertainty over the quality and results of the work.”
The outcome of the announced budget will be fruitful and positive if effective measures are taken to fetch revenue and meet the deficit implementing the expenditure allocations for mega infrastructure projects effectively, Prof Dr Salim Uddin said.
He expressed the hope that strengthened actions to implement the fiscal measures and stimulus will work effectively to recover the economy from challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The BHBFC chairman said the government has increased the allocation for social safety net for people vulnerable to poverty to almost eightfold in the last 13 years for protecting the livelihoods of over 1.2 million beneficiaries in the next fiscal year.
Apart from social security, the government has focused on health, agriculture and other sectors to bring the extreme poverty to 4-5 per cent in 2023 from 12.3 per cent which is a significant aspect, he said.
Prof Dr Salim Uddin said the government has relaxed the tax structure for businesses to promote local industries and generate employment amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He said meeting the budget deficit of Tk 214,681 crore will be a big challenge. “The implementation of the budget will be difficult if revenue collection and projected funds from foreign sources are not collected in time. It’ll be difficult to implement the proposed budget if there’s no success in revenue collection and financing the budget deficit, especially in financing from foreign sources. Different administrative measures, including setting strategies, have to be taken to implement the proposed budget.”
“Analysing the allocations for different sectors in the proposed budget, it can be said that the various social safety net programmes for the welfare of people, tax relaxation, mega projects and various strategies plans to increase investment at the stalled private sector have been given priority there,” the IBBL executive committee chairman said.
About the large size of the budget, he noted that considering the potential development of Bangladesh, people’s expectations, growth in consumption and demands of people, current economic stability and progress on various economic indicators, it can be said it is better not to be conservative about the budget size.
Prof Dr Salim Uddin thinks with adequate caution in the use of money and vigilance and strictness in preventing the misuse or waste of money, it will be possible to implement most parts of the big budget within the next few months if the Covid-19 situation comes under full control.
He said the current investment scenario is not enough to achieve higher growth. “The government investment is not increasing at the desired level for incomplete implementation of ADP for lack of capacity.”
There should be a monthly result-based evaluation process to assess the risk of development projects properly through reviewing the cost overrun and time overrun, Prof Dr Salim Uddin said.
The rate of implementation of ongoing large projects should be published through periodic press briefings, he said.
“This budget has been formulated without imposing any major taxes. The plan to implement this budget with much relief to all parties has been made with efficiency and sincerity and it’ll be difficult to get success without timely implementation of all strategies,” the BHBFC chairman said.