“A cautious budget has been proposed for FY 2022-23 which considers both the need to reduce imports and the demand for allocations for economic recovery. It aims to push forward an inclusive economic recovery while prioritizing the socio-economic security of the people and keeping the growth momentum going. However, certain tax proposals of the budget need to be reconsidered.”- said former Governor of Bangladesh Bank and Unnayan Shamannay Chair- Professor Dr. Atiur Rahman.
He presented the keynote paper at Unnayan Shamannay’s press conference on a review of the FY 2022-23 budget, organized at Banglamotor, Dhaka.
Unnayan Shamannay’s Lead Economist- Robart Shuvro Guda, the organization’s Policy Analyst- Zinia Sharmin, and eminent economist Dr. Jamal Uddin, and Sociologist Khondoker Shakhawat Ali were also present at the session.
Dr. Atiur urged to reconsider the tax proposals related to- increasing source tax on interest income of all companies; increasing taxes on mobile phones, laptops, and broadband internet services; and the scope left to bring back laundered money.
He also pointed out that by cutting unnecessary spending- further allocations could be ensured for social safety, education, and health.
Robart Shuvro Guda informed that an average citizen spends a lot on healthcare and of that amount- over two-thirds goes mainly for buying medicine. By allocating just over BDT 1,200 crore additionally for the medical and surgical equipment sub-sector of the health budget, this burden can be eased to a significant extent.
The Finance Minister, in his budget speech, has confirmed that if required allocations for subsidies in fuel and fertilizer will be further increased. The same principle should be followed for allocations for social safety nets as well- opined Zinia Sharmin.
Dr. Jamal Uddin emphasized on raising the tax-GDP ratio and enhancing the tax collection capacity of the NBR.
He said that NBR at the moment does not have the preparation to effectively collect taxes from upazila levels. In the concluding remarks, Khondoker Shakhawat Ali praised the government for being able to come up with a budget amid numerous challenges.
He further urged the policymakers to seriously consider the recommendations coming from budget reviews done by different citizen platforms.