Wednesday, 6 July, 2022

Call for unemployment allowance

Citizen’s Platform also seeks to raise tax-free income ceiling to Tk 3.5 lakh

Call for unemployment allowance

Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh urged the government to bring around 6.69 lakh unemployed youth under social safety net and introduce Tk 1,000 monthly allowance for them in the budget.

The platform leaders at a pre-budget discussion on Monday also suggested providing Education Credit Card to the students with yearly limit of Tk 1 lakh.

They also called for raising the minimum monthly allowance to Tk 1,000 for all types of social safety net schemes of the government.

The Citizen’s Platform for SDGs estimated that the government will have to allocate some Tk 5,863 crore or 1.34 percent of GDP more for FY2022-23 to ensure minimum Tk1,000 allowance for the financially insolvent people.

It recommended that allocations for social safety programmes meant for the poor be earmarked separately.

Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh convener Debapriya Bhattacharya, also a distinguished fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), presented a paper on the current economic situation, upcoming budget and perspective of the left behind communities.

 “The budget is being placed at a time when the country is facing the biggest challenge and its macroeconomic stability has never been under so much pressure since FY2007-08,” Dr Debapriya said.

Bangladesh's economy is yet to return to pre-pandemic level while the Russia-Ukraine war, supply chain dislocation, and rising commodity prices, among other factors, are to make the situation worse in FY2023-24, he pointed out.

In view of this, the platform suggested raising the individual level tax-free income ceiling to Tk3.5 lakh while women and other disadvantaged groups should be given more free space.

Given the current food and commodity price spirals, Dr. Debapriya apprehended that the country’s inflation might have risen to as high as 12 percent, terming the government’s 6.22 percent projection “unrealistic and unscientific.”  

The rising trend in commodity prices will continue in the coming days as the commodities impacted by global price hike are yet to reach the country, he predicted.

In the context of a rising inflation coupled with falling exchange rate, he called for coordination between interest rate, exchange rate and inflation.

He warned that once the macroeconomic stability is lost, the poor, lower middle class and middle class will be affected more as their income does not increase in line with commodity price hike. 

The noted economist criticised below 10 percent tax-GDP ratio, higher operational cost and the infrastructural shortcomings like inability to spend money along with resource constraints.