to take challenges
to formulate National Budget without Conditional Foreign Loans
Speakers at Post Budget Consultation held in Dhaka on 16 June 2008 at VIP Lounch of National Press Club, organised by SUPRO urges to take challenges to formulate National Budget without conditional foreign loans and grants in name of so-called development assistance. The speakers also said that the allocation in education sector in terms of the total budget is 12.3 percent, which is 3.2 percent lower than that of last year’s budget. Allocations in the education and health sectors have declined considering the overall size of the budget. Referring to the revised budget in the 2007-08 fiscal year, the speakers said the subsidy in agriculture remains lower. The proposed budget will hurt the human development activities needed for the continued progress of the country. The speakers also urged the caretaker government for extending the time of giving recommendations on the proposed Tk 99, 962 crore budget for the fiscal year 2008-09.
Dr. Atiur Rahman, noted economist of Bangladesh was chief guest of this discussion where Abdul Mannan,Ex-State Minister of Public Aviation and Tourism Ministry; Cornel (Retd.) Faruque Khan, Ex-MP from Bangladesh Awami League (AL); Lieutenant Cornel (Retd.) Mostafizur Rahman, Ex-MP from Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Dal (BNP); GM Qader, Ex-MP from Jatiya Party; AKM Jahagir Hossain, Ex-MP from Bangladesh Awami League (AL) and Mujahidul Islam Selim, General Secretary of Bangladesher Communist Party (CPB) spoke as guest speakers.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmood, Executive Board Member of SUPRO moderated the discussion while Prodip Kumar Roy, Chief Executive Officer of SUPRO welcomed and invited the guests and speakers to discussion highlighting the background of this post-budget consultation. A key note paper on Budget 2008-09 also presented in the consultation by Lorenwance Besra, Coordinator of SUPRO.
SUPRO National Committee Member MA Salam (Pabna), KGM Faruque (Bogura), Manju Rani Pramanik (Tangail), Shamima Akhter Moon Moon (Rajbari); SUPRO District Representative Sazzad Ansary (Jamalpur), Swapan Kumar Paul (Netrokona), Shadhin Chowdhury (Mymensingh) and Trade Union Leader Abul Hossain & Agricultural Farmers Association Leader Jayed Iqbal took part in the discussion.
Dr. Atiur Rahman, Eminant Economist
It appears that the government has framed the National Budget 2008-09 to meet the daily needs and the ongoing short-term economical conflict instead of setting up a long term economic vision for serving the greater interest of the nation. The highest budget in terms of sectorial allocation has gone for debt servicing and the trends to make the nation indebted more to minimize the budget deficit by borrowing foreign loans and grants has been focused in the proposed budget. So, this budget would not changes anything, but it will increase dependency to foreign donors and development partners who are not practically work for changing the fate of the poor and marginalised people as well as nation of Bangladesh.
The demands is coming to reduce the fertilizer price, but nobody is demanding allocation and subsidy for organize fertilizer; the budget has not any direction in this regards while the other countries are concentrating on organic fertilizer which is environment friendly. We should concentrate on it.
India produces about 1000 MW electricity each year from renewable energy like Bio-gas, solar etc. Bangladesh should concentrate on it. The government can formulate a policy to give incentives to people who will generate renewable energy.
Bangladesh Railway is neglected by government now a days. But the poor people uses it frequently as transport. Government should pay attention to Railway and allocate the resources in the budget.
Bangladesh is very much advance in Budget Discussion, now the day comes to work with Budget Cycle. We should pay attention in Budget Cycle to make more effective budget discussion.
Background of the Consultation:
SUPRO has been conducting pre and post budget consultation to spread out centralized budget discussion to grassroots for increasing capacity of district level activists aiming to developing grassroots level budget analysts since 2001. As part of this programme, SUPRO initiated National Budget 2008-09 consultation at Dhaka on 20 April 2008 where eminent economist Dr. Kholiquzzaman Ahmed, Dr. Pias Karim, ex-policy makers and CSO leaders demanded pro-poor National Budget 2008-09 for serving the interest of majority groups of people who are striving for lives and securing their livelihood. Aiming to generate the grassroots demands on National Budget 2008-09, SUPRO also organises 46 district level budget consultation during April to May 2008. After conducting these consultation with participation of local CSO leaders, mainstream policy party leaders, public official of district administration, journalists, economists and academicians; a set of demand from 46 districts are sent to Finance Ministry to realise the expectation of grassroots people on National Budget 2008-09.
The Finance Adviser of interim caretaker government declares Proposed National Budget 2008-09 on 09 June 2008 for taking feedback on this budget and sets deadline 16 June 2008 for sending opinion on proposed budget. District level activists of SUPRO assesses the national budget immediately comparing with their pre-budget demands and sends the opinion again to Finance Ministry during 10-12 June 2008. Six Regional Level Post Budget Discussion held in Rajshahi, Rangpur, Khulna on 14 June 2008 & Sylhet, Barisal, Chittagong on 15 June 2008 for preparing the national level post budget consultation. Finally the National Level Post Budget Consultation held on 16 June 2008 at Dhaka.
Allocations in the health and education sectors have declined in the proposed budget compared to the previous year. The observation was made at a discussion yesterday.
“It appears that the government has framed a budget to meet the daily needs. It lacks the future perspectives,” said Atiur Rahman, chairman of Samunnay at the discussion.
Supro (Suhasoner Jonno Procharavizan), a local NGO organised the discussion. “The allocation in education sector in terms of the total budget is 12.3 percent, which is 3.2 percent lower than that of last year’s budget,” Supro said.
Allocations in the education and health sectors have declined considering the overall size of the budget, Supro observed. Supro, referring to the revised budget in the 2007-08 fiscal year, said the subsidy in agriculture remains lower. “It will hurt the human development activities needed for the continued progress of the country,” added Atiur, who is also a noted economist.
Speakers at the programme urged the caretaker government for extending the time of giving recommendations on the proposed Tk 99, 962 crore budget for the fiscal year 2008-09.