Some parts of the proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 need to be polished, said Planning Minister MA Mannan.
He said, "The aim of the budget is to maintain the momentum achieved by the government over the years. The budget is the gear of economic change. The government has the right to determine the pace of economic change, whether to go into high gear, or low gear, or remain neutral."
"Businessmen have termed the proposed budget business-friendly. Some parts of the budget need to be polished," he added.
Mannan made the above remarks on Friday about the proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-22, on a webinar organised by the Centre for Governance Studies (CGS).
Addressing the webinar as chief guest, he said, "Considering the model of political economy we are following in Bangladesh, it can be said that we are in the middle of the right track."
The planning minister said, "During the last 12 years, we have followed an excellent roadmap. Our main responsibility was to bring Bengalis back home and make them live with confidence."
"Our responsibility was to provide an opportunity so that the country's people can live with dignity like other nations of the world. We feel like we are on the right path. However, I admit that we could not maintain the pace we had wanted," he added.
Mannan said, "The Awami League is not just a political party like other parties: it is a political movement. Its main purpose is for human beings to flourish and that means development."
Observing that the entire budget allocation serves some particular quarters, BNP National Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said, "Bangladesh's economy has shaped into a peculiar model. A sectarian ruling group is running the country."
He said 10 thousand people have got the opportunity to whiten black money and 10% tax has been collected from them. Around Tk8,00,000 crore has been laundered abroad. In recent years, the budget has served the purposes of a select few people.
"The current economic model of Bangladesh will not change. If the ruling government wants to stay in power, it has to serve the select few.
One to two percent of the people have accumulated all the wealth. Money is not going to those who keep the economy running. Although, meanwhile, per capita income has increased," he added.
The BNP leader continued with, "the alignment of Bangladesh's economy has to be done through a political decision, keeping the people in mind. Has the ACC interrogated the 10,000 people who have whitened black money? It will grill the opposition only."
Observing that there is a lack of transparency and accountability with regard to implementation of the budget, Fahmida Khatun, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said, "The government has the legal right to formulate the budget, but since the budget is for the people, it has to be done in consultation with the people's representatives. But the government has not done so."
"After announcement of the budget, democratic countries hold a lot of discussions in their parliaments. If the budget is not passed for any reason, the power of the government gets affected. In a country like ours, there is not much discussion. There was not much debate about the budget even after having a strong opposition. Members of the ruling party also have a moral responsibility to speak up for the people."
CGS Chairman Dr Manjur Ahmed Chowdhury presided over the webinar conducted by CGS Executive Director Zillur Rahman. Dhaka University Development Studies Department Professor, Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, presented the keynote at the event.