Dhaka Courier

Truths and Responses: Budget 2020-2021

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Ruling 14-party alliance led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is full of activity with the formulation of Budget 2020-2021 under such landscapes when world is befuddled and challenged with COVID-19, which shall be placed in Parliament very soon so that it rightly gets passed conventionally on 30/31 June 2020. Having all these in true perspectives, Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA), as usual it has been doing so since 2016, presented its Alternative Budget Recommendations-202O-2021 on 8 June 2020 through a virtual mode earmarking taka thirteen lac crore, which it believes is a reality, not utopian exercises at all in up-to-date Bangladesh. Both Professor Dr. Abul Barkat, president of BEA, and Dr. Jamaluddin Ahmed, general secretary of BEA, have proved their excellence in overhauling conventional thoughts and approaches to our customary budget-making processes and contents.

Think-tanks and research institutes engulfing pointedly Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Centre for Governance studies (CGS) and Policy Research Institute (PRI) by now made their thoughts and views available in their usual moods and modes. Curiously enough, in his article titled ‘An alternative national budget for next fiscal year’ published in the website of Centre for Governance Studies, CGS, on 6th June, Dr. Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, a professor of economics at department of development studies at University of Dhaka and Chairperson of Unnayan Onneshan, noted ‘A shift from conventional budgetary system to a three-year resuscitation strategy for Bangladesh is the need of the hour to inhabit the contraction of the economy’ .The moot point of all such studies and focuses evolve around the reality that COVID-19 created global challenges, constraints and dilemmas and thus, Bangladesh is also a prey to such catastrophes for which in all most all areas of developments in particular negative trends shall continue for long hitting our GDP, exports, imports and remittances.

With optimism, pessimism and a wavering sense of phobia, the Nation is keenly waiting to see what the upcoming budget finally encompasses in the light of reality, possibility and viability keeping in mind emphatically the appearance and continuance of COVID-19 with its ultra plus Leviathanian impacts on national, regional and global outlooks and sceneries. Two things are very important here one is making budget intelligently and pragmatically with toning attention to the call of the time and the other being operational capacities and experiences of those who are entrusted with putting budget into operations. There is no denying the fact that the ruling party should immediately come out of so-called patronage/spoil system, which are sidetracking and ousting the best products of civil service and thus, accommodating the unbecoming ones. Time is matured enough to hold the knots with Spartan spirits without a second thought.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina knows all these better than anybody else since she has been putting on three caps of power together (Cap of the president of awami League, cap of the leader of the house in parliament and cap of the head of the government), which converted our parliamentary model into a prime ministerial model and, perchance, she is the most powerful head of government in contemporary world. And, above all, the greatest challenge before the ruling party is to prove its excellence in striking a very accommodative, acceptable and synthetic matching between fiscal policy and monetary policy. We do not like to see at the mid-point of the journey of budget 2020-2021 any robust revisions without much logic and reliability. we do not like to experience with government’s taking money from  the banks going beyond limits, not even before stipulated timeframe drawn by the parliament  in the budget package(To our utter dismay, it happened in the past, it is happening at present and there is every possibility of its happening in future including the upcoming one)

To be specific, Inflation is certain, recession has a possibility, depression may not be set aside in the coming days and possibility of stagflation is still dormant and in nebulous mood and mode but not a utopian entity as it visited in the past in many countries and wider scales. Arrivals of such circumstances are conditional and largely subject to ensuring ruling party’s compatible target-oriented initiatives and their successful implementations to face the multi-faceted challenges, constraints and dilemmas digging concurrently the opportunities therein. May Allah bless us under the circumstances, compelling or not. May Allah bless us, bless Bangladesh to overcome the challenges, constraints and dilemmas created by COVID-19.

Dr. Sinha MA Sayeed (titled ‘Global voice’ for the book O United Nations), writer, columnist, public speaker and Chairman of Leadership Studies foundation, LSP at sinha_sayeed611@yahoo.com.

  • Centre for Governance Studies (CGS)
  • Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD)
  • Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA)
  • Budget 2020-2021

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