Monday, February 24, 2020 | ePaper

Govt faces hard time for needless expenditures coupled with corruption

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THE Finance Ministry has asked all ministries and divisions not to seek additional fund in the current fiscal year in a signal that the government is tightening its belt amid a revenue shortfall, as per local media reports. The ministry furnished the instruction with regard to the operating and development budgets in a circular issued in December in its process of revising the Tk 5,23,190 crore budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The main reason for the decrease in revenue collection is of course the dismal economic performance of the country during the period. The government is all too keen to keep on slaying the goose which lays the golden eggs. Thus every sector which shows strong economic performance has to pay increasing amounts in taxes. Another reason for a shortfall in growth collection is the inability of the government to help our largest export sector—the RMG sector, to develop world class competencies. One easy way to do this is to improve our power and communications infrastructure so that the sector can improve its operating economies.
It should be a very easy matter to set up new plants which provide electricity with almost zero blackouts in a year — but this hasn't happened despite the fact that the costs of power have doubled. Similarly it's no rockets science to figure out ways to improve Chattogram port, Dhaka airport, and the highways connecting Dhaka to major cities. Besides the poor revenue growth, the government's borrowing from the banks significantly increased reaching Tk 48,015.81 crore during the period from July 1 to December 31, 2019, according to the Bangladesh Bank's 'Fortnightly Trends of Major Economic Indicators: Updates on 31 December 2019'. Instead of finding ways to augment revenue collection the government should find ways of ensuring that the money spent isn't wasted. There is no use of development projects which collapse after a year or need frequent repairs.
This is putting public funds into a black hole — it continues to guzzle funds to no end. The time has come when every penny spent must be properly accounted for — there's no reason why our costs of building anything should be 2-3 times the world average.


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