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"Budget lacks vision to restore economic stability”

Special Correspondent Budget 2024-06-10, 11:25pm


"Budget lacks vision to restore economic stability”

Dhaka, June 10 - The Citizens' Platform on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Monday said that the proposed budget did not show a pathway to restoring economic stability.

Leaders of the civil society platform said this while speaking in a media briefing on the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 at BRAC Center Inn in the capital on Monday. 

Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Senior Research Fellow Towfiqul Islam Khan presented a keynote paper highlighting different aspects of the budget at the briefing.

He said, “The budget talks about restoring economic stability. We are very optimistic. But there is no guidance on its implementation. Nothing was said about the people affected by Cyclone in the coastal areas. Why did we fall into an economic crisis?”

“Talk of a Russia-Ukraine war is out. No discussion on banking sector, good governance. Market irregularities, what will happen to prevent money laundering, and the debt crisis has not been identified by the budget speech,” Towfiqul pointed out.

He said, "It is not accepted that we are in a debt situation on a large scale. In the last fiscal year our revenue was not sufficient to repay the foreign debt. We have repaid nearly Tk25000 crore.”

The Citizens' Platform has also criticised the keeping provision for legalizing undisclosed money in the proposed budget.

Towfiqul in his presentation further said, “In the budget where there is exemption from income tax. Discounts are greatly reduced indirectly. There is no action on direct tax exemptions like garments, fuel, and microcredit. There is no guidance on what to do next. There is also no action on exemption of income tax.”

He said, undisclosed money can be legalized with 15 percent cash. But if you buy a flat in the Gulshan area, you can get away with 2.38 percent tax. Totally legal, at the same time it appears you can get away with 2-3 percent not 15 percent. At the same time, indemnity has been paid in full. No one can ask any question. This is not acceptable.

Debapriya Bhattacharya, convenor of Citizen Platform and Honorary Fellow of CPD, presided over the programme. TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman, Policy Exchange Chairman M Masrur Riaz, among others, spoke at the briefing.-UNB