Sunday, 19 August 2018

How should the budget be structured?

Dr. Mahbub Ullah, Former Chairman and Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka

Dr. Mahbub Ullah, Former Chairman and Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka : The budget for the fiscal year 2018-19 is going be of a mega Tk 460,200cr size, according to media reports.
However, considering the needs of the country, there could have been a much bigger budget. But the problem with a big budget is that we have set record of failures in internal asset mobilization and inability to meet revenue collection targets. This is why a smaller budget is seen with each revised budgets. The revisions need to be done centring the budget administration and the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
On the other hand, revisions have to done considering how the current tax collection  techniques can be evolved instead of imposing new tax.
Our flow of foreign remittance is in a very stable state, which is because the manpower we are exporting, are not able to get good jobs due to their lack of quality skills. With their very little earnings, it is not being possible for them to send more remittance. Our remittance earnings would increase even more if only we could export high quality manpower. Besides, we have to discover new labor market and make skilled manpower fit for those.
The Economic Complexity Index, an index invented by the Economists of Harvard University, shows the negative state of our country. This means that we are being unable to export much products and those being exported, have very poor technical basis.
Despite the GDP growth of 7% as claimed by the government, it is not creating employment. The upcoming budget should concentrate on how we can arrange employment in line with the growth.
The northern part of the country has been facing greater discriminations than any other parts. Budget should have directions of the ways to increase investment and create employment opportunities. Both the health and education sectors deserve more allocation in the budget. Good governance also has to be given priority in the budget.

Translated by Sofian Khan

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