Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan), a civil society platform for good governance, has underscored the urgent need to reform the budgetary system for achieving the country’s desired goal.
“There is lack of practice of accountability and democracy in maintaining the budgetary system. The system should be reformed,” Shujan said in its reaction on the proposed national budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
According to the constitution, the lawmakers have no power except for passing the budget through voice vote in the parliament, the speakers said while presenting a keynote paper at the programme held at Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka.
The financial policy should be based on the three fundamental aspects of the independence — equity, human dignity and justice — for well management of the economy, Shujan President M Hafiz Uddin Khan said this as a keynote speaker.
Otherwise, the desired goal will remain elusive, said Hafiz Uddin, also a former adviser to the caretaker government.
He also criticised the discussion process on budget and said, “Scratching back is done in the parliament in the name of discussion on the budget”.
“Finance minister is one of the 10 richest men in the country so how could he realise our sadness,” Hafiz Uddin questioned.
Taking part at the discussion, eminent economist Professor Anu Muhammad said the trend of collecting tax directly from people is going up and it has increased six times over the last 10 years.
He also suggested the government to introduce January-December or April-March as the fiscal year instead of June-July to boost the development works.
The budgetary funds are wasted due to beginning of the fiscal year from June-July and development work is also hampered because of monsoon, he said.
Claiming that discussion on the funds allocated in the budget is not held in the parliament, Anu Muhammad said the overall situation in implementing the mega projects was in bad shape and now it took an acute turn.
The government spends two to three times higher than US and China in constructing high-rise buildings, highways and bridges, he alleged.
He also came down hard on the finance minister for keeping a provision in the proposed budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year for whitening black money and said the government is very much flexible in this regard.
Among others, Naznin Ahmed, a researcher of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, spoke at the programme while Badiul Alam Majumdar, secretary of the Shujan, played his role as a moderator.