The question raised by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the National Assembly last Thursday is whether the 2021-22 budget will be able to cope with the second wave of Corona. Because there is a big difference between budget presentation and implementation. In other words, the amount of income calculated in the budget is not earned. Again, the amount allocated to a sector, as seen at the end of the year, is not fully spent. Where more allocations are demanded in the healthcare sector during the Coronation period, the allocated funds are also not spent.
Although a budget of Tk 6 lakh 3 thousand 81 crore has been announced for the fiscal year 2021-22, the revenue target is Tk 3 lakh 69 thousand crore. The amount of subsidy is 2 lakh 14 thousand 81 crore rupees. From past experience, the amount of this subsidy will be even higher at the end of the year. It was expected that this time the budget of the finance minister will have the direction to deal with the crisis. Unfortunately, the finance minister has given the usual budget as always. He has given priority to growth, not economic crisis.
In his budget speech, the finance minister spoke of bringing equality between life and livelihood. He called for reducing corporate taxes for traders and providing some benefits to domestic entrepreneurs. These incentives will surely help in the expansion of industry and trade. On the other hand, the allocation for social security programs has also increased. But the budget does not provide any assistance to those who have become poor, those who have lost their jobs due to Corona’s push. As a result, a large number of people in the country remained out of the budget. The finance minister has promised to provide technical training so that they can get suitable jobs inside or outside the country. The finance minister has emphasized on the development of agriculture. But the subsidy given in this sector is less than required. Similarly, there is no direction in the budget to address the challenges of education in Corona; Although the allocation has increased somewhat. The 15 per cent tax proposal on private educational institutions will further restrict education. Education is one of the sectors that has suffered the most during the Corona period.
The finance minister has allocated more in the health sector. But there is no guarantee that the allocation will be spent properly. There was more allocation in the health sector in the current financial year as well. But it could not be spent due to corruption, irregularities and arbitrariness of the officials of that ministry. No one was held accountable for this. The finance minister has promised to bring 100 million people under the corona vaccine. But if 2.5 million people are vaccinated every month, it will take several years to complete the program. During this time, millions more will be eligible for the new vaccine.
In the last 50 years, Bangladesh has made great strides economically, but at the same time, economic inequality has increased. The finance minister’s budget speech this time does not have a direction to reduce that inequality, but rather the tendency to put oil on the head. The accountant finance minister did not want to accept that the theory of leaky economy is very obsolete in the present era.