Published in The Daily Observer on Friday, 5 June 2015.
Economists have expressed mixed reaction over the proposed budget saying that there are many good initiatives in the proposed budget which will be tough to implement. To earn the required revenue to meet the extended expenditure would be a great challenge, they observed.
Noted economist and distinguished fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya welcomed various moves in the proposed budget, including reducing the corporate tax, coordinating the corporate tax with the personal tax, increasing the ceiling of tax-free income to Tk 2.50 lakh from Tk 2.20 lakh.
He, however, observed that the government’s income target in the proposed budget was unrealistic. The government has estimated the income budget to accommodate its ‘big expenditures’ for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, he said adding, “This is a serious concern against the backdrop of 50 percent reduction of the foreign aid.”
Debapriya thanked the government for keeping up with the gender budget. Debapriya was speaking at a press conference at CPD office in the capital.
He said that the expansion of the budget appears unrealistic. It is not clear how the government would earn to meet up the increased expenditure.
Executive chairman of Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) Hossain Zillur Rahman said the proposed budget could not give any guideline to accelerate economic growth which is now stagnant at around 6 per cent for years.
“It’s not a strategic paper which can show us the light to come out of the 5-6 per cent growth cycle,” the former caretaker government adviser said in his instant reaction to the proposed budget.
The economist observed that the finance minister has not come up with a policy vision yet for local investors to contribute to both higher growth and to job creation.
Terming energy a key issue for increasing investment and growth, the economist suggested that there is no holistic approach to addressing the energy sector crisis.
He said, “I see absence of dynamic initiatives in developing skilled manpower. The proposals on skills development in the budget are based on conventional and bureaucratic thinking.”