Finance Minister AMA Muhith has promised that the future budgets will contain detailed breakdown of the government’s defence spending.
Muhith told Parliament on Monday questions had been raised because the defence budget had no sector-wise description and he wanted to take the step to ensure transparency.
He said the absence of a detailed defence budget was a ‘tradition’ that had been put in place by illegal governments.
“This is not a healthy tradition. I have been trying to change this for the last five years. Hopefully in the future you will see detailed description of the defence budget,” he told Parliament.
Earlier, JSD MP Moinuddin Khan Badal demanded detailed description of the defence budget in his discussion on the revised budget.
Corruption watchdog Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) also called for ensuring transparency in the defence budget.
“The defence sector cannot be considered an untouchable issue. As a sector of great public importance, defence spending should be made open to discussion to ensure credibility and create public trust,” TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said.
After the finance minister’s speech, independent MP Rustam Ali Farazi said in his speech that Parliament had the right to know the details of the defence spending.
“How much does the army get, or the navy? How much is spent on infrastructure and how much on salaries? We have the right to know these,” he said.
LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam demanded another Tk 7.15 billion for the defence sector in the upcoming budget.
Later he said, “The defence budget has to become transparent. We’re its signatories, we want it as well.”
“Keeping the defence budget secret creates a lot of misunderstandings. But it’s not a secret budget,” he said.
Ashraf, the Awami League general secretary, said, “Military rulers used to hide the defence budget. They would hide it inside the main budget and it would never come to Parliament.”
Source: Bd news24