Political stability is must for better implementation of the new budget in the election year, said speakers at a dialogue on the national budget on Saturday.
Some of the speakers, however, criticised the budget, last one of the present Awami League-led government, saying that it was like a ‘halkhata’ (ledger book) and lacked any exit plan for the costly rental power plants.
They viewed that the country’s banking sector was facing serious problems due to rising classified loan after the unprecedented loan scams and fund embezzlements in the state-owned and private banks.
They criticised the government for allowing investment of undisclosed money in housing sector at the dialogue organised by Centre for Policy Dialogue, a local think-tank, at a local hotel.
CPD chairman Rehman Sobhan moderated the programme participated, among others, by former minister Osman Farruk, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on ministry of finance AHM Mostafa Kamal, former Bangladesh Bank governor Salehuddin Ahmed, former Board of Investment chairman Enam Ahmed Chowdhury, former FBCCI president Mir Nasir Hossain, incumbent FBCCI president Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed and CPD executive director Mustafizur Rahman.
Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith who announced the budget on June 6 in the parliament refused to attend the duologue after the CPD called the budget ‘surreal’.
FBCCI president Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed said, ‘Peace is the precondition for all sorts of development. We need political stability in the country, first and foremost, in order to boost the investment.’
Osman Farruk, also a BNP leader, taking part in the discussion said the budget had no development plan. The budget should not be considered as merely a halkhatha, he said.
Farruk criticised AMA Muhith for allocating Tk 6,800 crore for the Padma Bridge project. Muhith has no right to dictate the next elected government, he commented.
The next government, whoever it be, should look for foreign loans on easier term for implementation the bridge project, he said.
Farruk observed that the economy was suffering from stagnation under the present government. ‘Growth of gross domestic product was around 5.9 per cent in 1997. So there should be no satisfaction at 6 per cent growth in the outgoing fiscal year,’ he said.
Salehuddin Ahmed criticised the present government as it failed to check the mismanagement in the banking sector. Implementation of the budget is more important than its size, he said. ‘The present budget lacked action plans for its execution,’ he noted.
Mostafa Kamal said the present government was successful in many areas of the economy excepting in few micro indicators. He noted that share market was one of micro indicators.
Kamal said revenue income in the outgoing fiscal year might fall short of Tk 3,000 crore. Political consensus was needed to get rid of hartal, he observed.
Enam Ahmed Chowdhury said the budget had no plan for getting rid of costly rental power plants which are causing indiscipline in the fiscal management.
Political stability is more important than anything for proper implementation of the budget, he said.
Source: New Age