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BEA places alternative budget

Published : 03 Jun 2024 10:48 PM | Updated : 03 Jun 2024 10:49 PM

Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA) on Monday came up with an alternative budget of Tk 11,95,486 crore for the fiscal year 2024-25 which is 1.57 times higher than the size of the proposed budget for the current fiscal year.

BEA General Secretary Prof. Dr. Aynul Islam proposed the alternative budget at a press briefing held at the association’s auditorium in the capital. Newly elected President of BEA Dr. Kazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad and its former President Prof. Dr. Abul Barakat were present.

The alternative budget was placed with an aim to turn the majority (70-80 percent) of the country’s population into sustainable middle class by 2034.

BEA also put forward 341 recommendations aiming to remove inequality, disparity and alleviate poverty, ensuring social safety, curbing inflation, boosting forex reserves and reducing dependence on domestic and foreign loans.

It has also recommended recovery of at least 0.98 percent and 0.49 percent of Tk 1,32,530,500 crore black money and Tk 11,92,815 crore  laundered money respectively in the FY 2024-25. The money to be recovered will stand at Tk 15,000 crore.

To mobilise internal resources, BEA said, the government should impose tax mainly on wealth, extra profits, capital flight, black money, and income of foreign citizens working in Bangladesh.

In his speech, BEA President Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said that the government usually puts emphasis on direct tax in mobilising internal resources which increases inequality among the people. "So, the government should lay emphasis on indirect tax and keep the middle and lower-middle income people outside the income tax-net for some more years.”

He further mentioned that Tk 10,24,767 crore will come from revenue sources according to the proposed alternative budget of Tk 11,950,486 crore which is 92.13 percent of the total budget.

“There will be no role of foreign loan in budget deficit which can contribute at least 39.5 percent for budget deficit in the current year’s budget. So, there will be no need to take local or foreign loan for budget financing.” 

According to the BEA’s alternative budget, the development budget will be much higher than the operational budget in total allocation and comparative allocation but now it is totally reverse. Now the ratio of the allocation for development and operational budget is 38:62. It should be 66:34.

BEA General Secretary Prof. Dr. Aynul Islam said according to their proposal, the development budget will be Tk 5,98,393 crore by increasing 2.1 times comparing to the current budget while the operational costs will  be Tk 5,97,183 crore by increasing 1.23 times.

BEA has proposed budget projects total revenue earning of the government is Tk 10,24,676 crore of which 72 percent from direct tax and 28 percent from indirect tax.

In its alternative budget, BEA has proposed large-scale amendments and reforms of which establishing 16 new departments and directorates under different ministries, side by side forming new ministries for public transport, research, innovation and development mainly aiming at turning the extremely centralized ruling system into a mass people and grass roots oriented.

Suggesting large-scale structural changes in the budget, BEA said at least 35.2 percent of the total allocation should be for education, health, social safety net, welfare and housing which is only 25 percent in the current budget.