Speakers at a webinar on Friday engaged in a healthy debate on if the national budget 2021-2022 was a ‘one step forward’ or if it severely lacked accountability and transparency.
Planning Minister M.A. Mannan MP stated that the government is on the right track in formulating the budget.
He also stated that a deficit budget is necessary for growth and poverty alleviation.
The planning minister said that the budget was business-friendly and “one step forward” for the country, but he did highlight that he has not seen the rate of growth in Bangladesh’s economy that he had expected to see yet.
However, Center for Policy Dialogue executive director Fahmida Khatun said that the implementation of the budget lacks accountability and transparency, and highlighted the lack of discourse on the budget at the parliament.
“The budget has been prepared using a top-down approach, and inputs from the grassroots levels have not been taken into consideration. The stimulus package or other incentives work only when there is an honest business environment, which is lacking in the country,” she said.
According to her, the budget also doesn’t provide sufficient guidance of recovery for Bangladesh after the pandemic.
They came up with the remarks while addressing an online discussion organised by the Centre for Governance Studies on the proposed National Budget for 2021-2022.
Former commerce minister and BNP standing committee member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said that t people are too focused on the details of the budget and not paying attention to the actual unique economic model in Bangladesh. He stipulated that the whole economy has been geared to serve the interest of certain syndicates who are responsible for vast amounts of money laundering and black money. Since these money laundering schemes are also factored into the GDP measure of the country, he argued that key indicators of development in Bangladesh are being distorted. He emphasised that political decisions have to be made while keeping the interests of the general public and not powerful groups and syndicates.
Besides, former National Board of Revenue chairman Muhammad Abdul Mazid, Dhaka University professor Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir and Economist Muhammed Parvez Imdad were among the notable speakers at the event.