BNP on Thursday formally turned down the national budget for 2020-21 fiscal year, saying it is "unimplementable' at this time of coronavirus pandemic.
"The budget is not implementable in any way. They (govt) didn’t say specially from where they would collect so much of revenue. Even, they couldn’t reach the 50 percent of their revenue target last year,” said BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
He also said the budget has not been a time-befitting one when the country graples with coronavirus pandemic. “This budget is not acceptable in any way as they formulated it in a prototype bureaucrat format. So, we turn down this budget with hatred.”
Two days after the budget was passed in parliament, Fakhrul came up with their party’s formal reaction to it through a virtual press conference from his Uttara residence.
Earlier on Tuesday, parliament passed the Tk 568,000 crore national budget for the fiscal year 2020-21, with the slogan 'Economic Transition and Pathway to Progress'.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on June 11 placed the budget to attain an ambitious 8.2 percent GDP, which has been revised to 5.2 percent in line with maintaining a 5.4 percent inflation for the next fiscal overcoming all the challenges and impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Fakhrul said the government should have framed the budget for a period of exigency giving the main focus on containing the coronavirus and protecting people’s health, lives and livelihoods.
“The humanitarian aspect should have got prominence in the budget to protect people from the corona disaster, but it's not there in the budget,” he observed.
Asked whether their party will come up with any programme to register their protest against the budget, the BNP leader said it is difficult to announce any programme now amid the growing coronavirus infections.
Fakhrul said their party’s 76 leaders and activists have so far died of coronavirus while many others have been infected with the deadly virus. “So, we don’t want to take any programme which may cause corona infections.”
He alleged that many programmes in the budget were not outlined with a universal approach as those have been taken only to protect the interests of particular quarters to nurture sectarianism under political patronage.
Fakhrul said the new budget will only increase the sufferings of people who are struggling due to the coronavirus.
“This budget will push crores of hungry people who have become jobless due to coronavirus towards a famine, and it’ll widen the economic inequality…overall, the budget will widen the scope for those who indulge in plundering the country’s assets. So, we reject the budget,” he said.
The BNP leader criticised the government for what he said making inadequate allocation for the health and agriculture sectors and focusing on mega projects in terms of allocation.
He slammed Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal for going to London for treatment when people are going through serious ordeals in undergoing corona tests and receiving proper treatment at hospitals in the country for lack of kits, oxygen and necessary equipment. “The Finance Minister went aboard when patients are dying for lack of treatment and oxygen support. It's nothing but a joke with people.”
Fakhrul also opposed the government’s move to impose corona test fee, and said the step has been taken to discourage people to undergo tests.