Tuesday, 5 July, 2022

Unnayan Shamannay suggests reviewing certain tax proposals of budget

Lauding the proposed budget for the fiscal year (2022-23) for outlining an inclusive economic recovery, Dr Atiur Rahman, former Governor of Bangladesh Bank and Chair of Unnayan Shamannay, on Saturday said that the budget could be further improved with reconsidering certain tax proposals.

"A cautious budget has been proposed for FY 2022-23, which considers both the need for reducing imports and allocations for economic recovery," Dr Atiur said while presenting the keynote paper at Unnayan Shamannay's press conference arranged to review the proposed budget for FY23, organized at Banglamotor here, said a press release, reports BSS.

Unnayan Shamannay's lead economist Robart Shuvro Guda, the organization's policy analyst Zinia Sharmin, eminent economist Dr. Jamal Uddin, and sociologist Khondoker Shakhawat Ali, among others, were present at the press conference.

The former central bank governor said that the new budget aims at pushing forward an inclusive economic recovery prioritizing social safety net programmes and keeping the current pace of economic growth.

"However, certain tax proposals of the budget need to be reconsidered," he opined. Dr. Atiur also urged the government to reconsider the tax proposals related to increasing source tax on interest income of all companies, increasing taxes on mobile phones, laptops, and broadband internet services, and the scope left to bring back laundered money.

He also stressed the need for cutting unnecessary spending and further allocations for social safety of people, education, and health.

"A citizen on average spends a lot of money for healthcare," said Robart Shuvro Guda, adding, that over two-thirds of the expenditure is spent mainly for buying medicine. By allocating just over Taka 1,200 crore additionally for the medical and surgical equipment sub-sector of the health budget, this burden can be eased to a significant extent, he suggested.

"The Finance Minister, in his budget speech, has assured that if required, allocations for subsidies in fuel and fertilizer will be further increased.

The same principle should be followed for allocations for social safety nets as well", opined Zinia Sharmin.

Dr. Jamal Uddin emphasized increasing the tax-GDP ratio side by side enhancing the revenue collection capacity of the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

He said that the NBR currently does not have the preparation to effectively collect taxes from upazila levels.

In his closing remarks, Khondoker Shakhawat Ali praised the government for being able to come up with a budget amid numerous challenges.

He further urged the policymakers to seriously consider the recommendations coming from budget reviews done by different citizen platforms.