3 June 2017, Sat

Jamaat-e-Islami gives official reaction to the proposed budget

Jamaat Ameer calls to modify the budget proposal to make it public friendly

Ameer of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Maqbul Ahmad has issued the following statement on 3rd June, 2017 in regards to the budget of the 2017-18 fiscal year, which has been declared by finance minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith in the national parliament on 1st June.

“Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith has declared a budget of Tk 4,00,226 crore for 2017-18 fiscal year which is highly ambitious and full of deficiency. It is an impractical budget which would increase the public expense. The proposed budget is bank load and foreign credit based and it has been unveiled to overcome the electoral tenure. But the countrymen think, this government would not be able to implement this proposed budget.

In the proposed budget, total income has been fixed approximately about 2, 93,004 crore taka where the deficiency is 1, 12,275 crore taka. To meet this huge deficiency, the government would take 28 thousand 2 hundred and 3 crore taka loan from domestic banks. From other sources, they would take 32 thousand one hundred and 49 crore taka. The government would also receive 51 thousand and 8 hundred crore taka. Apart from these, the authority would take 5 thousand 22 crore taka as credit assistance. 10.4 percent of the proposed budget would be spent to pay the interest of these huge credits. This situation substantiates that the proposed budget is made on the basis of foreign credit and domestic loans.

The budget proposed to impose 15 percent flat vat on 549 products. There are no directives in this budget to stop money laundering. On the other hand, by imposing this 15 percent VAT, the government is outlined a new tactic to exploit the poor peoples in a bid to push them towards more poverty and impoverishment. The issuance of new VAT would increase the price of the essentials more. It will also increase inflation. The proposed budget set approximate inflation at 5.5 percent. But in reality it would be higher.

The peoples are already highly affected by the continuous price hike of the essentials. Immediate after placing the budget proposal, prices of rice, lentils, oil, sugar and other essentials have started to go up once again. Among all the countries in South Asia, price of rice is the highest in Bangladesh. The proposed budget would serious damage to the industrialists, businessmen, farmers, labours, government and non-government officials and small traders. The burden of flat VAT rate is a new pressure for the general masses.

From the revenue sector, the government has set an income target, which is too unsure to achieve. If a person deposits only one lac taka in a bank, he has to pay tax for that money. Such a policy is contradictory to the depository policy of the government. It must be cancelled. On 2nd June, in a post-budget unveiling press conference, finance minister further informed that the man who have one lac taka in the bank, are rich enough. Protesting such unjust and illogical comment of the minister, I want to say that the minister actually ridiculed the poor. He must withdraw his comment.

The budget proposed to keep unchanged the tax-exempted income-threshold for individual tax payers at Tk 2.50 lakh. But considering the current context, it should be expanded more. The proposed budget is not investment friendly at all.

The proposed budget targeted the GDP growth as 7.4 percent. In the previous budget, government has failed to achieve the previous GDP growth target and it will be the same, the peoples think. Such a situation proved that, whatever the government is claiming, actually the nation did not develop under the current tenure, and rather the situations get worse.

The exporters have to pay 43 percent additional taxes and source taxes are also going high. So the proposed budget is not favorable to business.

The proposed budget would cause a price hike to the child food items, milk powder, butter, fresh fruits, fuel, gas, cosmetics, fragrance items, toiletries, soaps, mosquito coils, ceiling fan, sim card and color tv etc. Hiking the price of these products, the government has affected the interest of the poor peoples. This decision must be repealed. The proposed budget also increased the price of motor cycles and hybrid cards, which should not be done.

The proposed budget kept the arrangement for whitening the black money and thus encouraged the practices of bribe and corruption. It should be cancelled. This budget has also kept the provisions for the ruling party men to do more corruptions. The proposed budget would not be able to change the fate of the nation. This budget would cause more poverty to the poor peoples and the number of the impoverished peoples would be increased as well.

So considering the interest of the 80 percent poverty stricken people, we are urging the government to reduce the VAT, to withdraw the tax upon depositing one lac taka,  to expand the tax-exempted income-threshold for individual and also to withdraw those decisions which may have impact to a price hike of the essentials. We are calling upon the authorities to modify the aforesaid controversial proposals in order to make the budget more people-friendly.