6 June 2024, Thu

The proposed budget will not create any positive impact for the people, claims Secretary General

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami’s Secretary General and former lawmaker Professor Mia Golam Porwar reacting to the 54th budget of the country as the finance minister placed Tk 7,97,000 crore national budget for 2024-25 in parliament.

“The incumbent government came to the power this time once again by snatching voting rights of the people away and also by holding a dummy election. In the first budget of the present tenure, the finance minister placed an impractical and loan-based budget that lacks specific directives to get rid of the existing financial crisis. The proposed budget will not create any positive impact for the people.

The theme of the proposed budget is "Pledge towards building a happy, prosperous, developed and smart Bangladesh.” But practically instead of building a happy and prosperous Bangladesh, through corruption and misrule and by facilitating the process of money laundering and simultaneously by patronizing the corrupted personalities, the government has taken all measures to cripple the national economy.

The FY25 budget is 4.6 percent bigger than the current one, much lower than the year-on-year average spike of 11 percent seen in the last five years. The current fiscal year's budget was 12.35 percent larger than the previous year's. The proposed budget has a major deficit to 4.6 percent of GDP, a level last seen a decade ago. The deficit is likely to be Tk 2,56,000 crore. It is likely to set a collection goal of Tk 5,41,000 crore in FY25, an 8.2 percent increase from the previous year. The National Board of Revenue may be given a task to raise Tk 4,95,000 crore.

The government has retained the tax-free income limit at Tk 3.5 lakh for individual taxpayers for fiscal year 2024-25. According to today's budget proposal, for women and senior citizens aged 65 years or above, the limit is Tk 4 lakh, physically challenged persons and members of the third gender Tk 4.75 lakh and the freedom fighters Tk 5 lakh. However, the threshold would be increased for parents or legal guardians of physically challenged/adopted child by Tk 50,000 for each child.

To increase the revenue collection, massive changes have been brought in the vat and tax sector. For the local industries, tax and VAT exemption facilities have been squeezed. This step would raise the production cost of the local products. Besides, import taxes have been increased for the raw materials of AC and LED. So, naturally the prices of AC and TV will be on the rise. Tax has been imposed on mobile talk time and internet consumption, which will increase the cost of the consumers. The budget once again kept the provision of whitening blank money in exchange for 15% taxes, which can never be supported by any means.

The finance minister talked about moralities and different statistics which are far away from reality. The budget proposal has no directives to resolve the ongoing economic crisis. The government miserably failed to implement even half of the budget they had declared for 2023-24 fiscal year. They facilitated looting by undertaking various mega projects. The finance minister also gave no directions to tackle corruption in the bank sector, money laundering and capital market scam.

3 years back, on average, every citizen had a loan of one lakh taka which is now one lakh and 55 thousand taka. So, in just 3 years loan has increased by 55 thousand on average. The amount of loan both in the government and the public sector in June, 2023 was 98.9 billion dollars. In last September, it became 100 billion dollars. The experts anticipate that local and foreign along with interest will be just double in the next fiscal year. The food inflation rate in Bangladesh is 11 percent now, which is more than the bankrupt country Sri Lanka. Only 5.5 percent GDP has been achieved this time which is lesser than 2006.

The dollar rate in the open market has increased from 125 to 130 taka, which will assumably increased in next year. The reserve amount is 13 billion dollars now which will go down more alarmingly in the coming year, warned the experts. The down trend is being observed in export income, financial growth and foreign remittance. Severe anarchy is continuing in the medical sector. Earlier, medical equipment was imported with special tax exemption facilities. But the proposed budget recommends to impose import taxes on at least 200 medical equipment. It will increase the healthcare service cost and the people will be deprived from receiving proper medical treatment. The budget also proposed to increase taxes on the imported raw materials, which will raise the industrial expense as well.

Today’s proposed budget is nothing but a proposal of imposing new taxes upon the people. The proposed budget will not create any positive impact for the people. The countrymen overwhelmingly rejected this budget as it goes against the public interest.”