Proposed budget traditional, lacks innovation to fight Covid-19, says CPD

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Proposed budget traditional, lacks innovation to fight Covid-19, says CPD

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has said the proposed budget 2020-21 lacks innovation to fight pressing issues, especially addressing inequality and problems of the new poor caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research organization made the observation during a virtual press briefing titled “An Analysis of the National Budget for FY2020-21” on Friday.

On Thursday, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal announced a budget of Tk5.68 lakh crore for FY2020-21 in parliament.

“The budget is a traditional one as we did not see the necessary innovations to address issues such as health risk, poverty and inequality caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said CPD Executive Director Fahmida Khatun.

A realistic estimate of our economic performance is also necessary because Bangladesh needs to access Covid-19 related funds from international organizations, particularly when the government is expecting to underwrite a large part of the budget deficit from foreign borrowing, she added.

CPD Distinguished Fellow Prof Mustafizur Rahman said: “During a crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic, the main objective should be supporting the poor and other affected people, instead of being too concerned about GDP [gross domestic product] growth.

Prof Mustafizur said the macroeconomic framework of the budget does not reflect realities on the ground.  “The government is moving forward with a weak revenue collection structure.”

CPD Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem said the economy cannot be restored amid health risks, and rather there is a possibility of its worsening.

“It seems the government prepared the budget thinking the pandemic would go away quickly like how it spread around the world. But that is not the thing. In reality, our health risks are increasing day by day [due to the pandemic].

“The government, in fact, wanted to please all by the budget,” he added.

 

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