Thursday, June 27, 2019 | ePaper

Big size budget doesn't mean big change in common people's lot

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THE upcoming national budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year is going to cross Tk 5 lakh crore although a comprehensive social, economic and infrastructural development with attaining zero poverty, quality health service and education with sustainable development for all is still elusive. Budget comes and goes every year round without putting any impact on the marginal people, except price hiking of essential that push them to the corner of extreme poverty. The quality change of living, livelihood and utility services of majority people are not attained despite the budgetary allocation got increased every year, what pops up a question for whom the budget announcement and who are the beneficiary. Acute unemployment and underemployment in the era of demographic dividend has enabled scarcity in almost every home.
The upcoming budget size will be about Tk 5.23 lakh crore, up 12.50 percent year-on-year. During the fiscal, the government's target is to complete the construction of Padma Multipurpose Bridge and Metro Rail Project in the revised timeframe. The construction of the bridge, which will cost Tk 30,000 crore, was supposed to be completed by December 30 last year. The government wants to make visual progress in construction of some important mega projects like Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant -- which will need big allocations in the next budget.
Past experience shows the large gap between the original size of the budget and its actual realization limits the former's relevance to no more than mere symbolism. For instance, in fiscal 2016-17, a Tk 3.41 lakh crore budget was announced but it was revised down to Tk 3.17 lakh crore. But in the end, Tk 2.69 lakh crore was used. Similarly, last fiscal year the budget was originally fixed at Tk 4 lakh crore only for it to be trimmed down to Tk 3.71 lakh crore.
The revenue collection target for the next fiscal year will likely be Tk 3.78 lakh crore, of which the National Board of Revenue will shoulder Tk 3.25 lakh crore. Meeting this target will depend on new VAT law implementation from next fiscal. We do urge the government not to put an excessive tax burden on citizens for ballooning the budget size.

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