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District budget yet to deliver desired development measures in Bangladesh

District budget is a good tool to ensure local development but it is yet to deliver its desired impact at the district level, observed discussants at a CPD dialogue on Tangail district budget.

The government should revise the methodology of formulating district budget and improve it according to demands of the local people, they observed.

(from left) Mr Towfiqul Islam Khan, Research Fellow, CPD; Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, CPD; Chief Guest Mr Fazlur Rahman Khan Faruk, Administrator, District Council, Tangail; Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow, CPD; Special Guest Professor Mirza Mohammad Abdul Momen, Former Chairman, Sadat Government College; Honorary Guest Mr Anwarul Islam Khan, Former Ambassador; and Educationist Professor Sekender Hayat.
(from left) Mr Towfiqul Islam Khan, Research Fellow, CPD; Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, CPD; Chief Guest Mr Fazlur Rahman Khan Faruk, Administrator, District Council, Tangail; Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow, CPD; Special Guest Professor Mirza Mohammad Abdul Momen, Former Chairman, Sadat Government College; Honorary Guest Mr Anwarul Islam Khan, Former Ambassador; and Educationist Professor Sekender Hayat.

 

The dialogue titled আগামী জাতীয় বাজেট ও টাঙ্গাইল জেলার প্রত্যাশা was organised at BURO Bangladesh Auditorium on Saturday, 14 March 2015.

Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, CPD said that this discussion at district level aims to convey demands of the local people and their reflections on district budget to policymakers. He expected that reflections from the grassroots level would also help CPD in generating ideas on how best the budget could be formulated.

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Mr Towfiqul Islam Khan, Research Fellow, CPD presented the keynote paper which showed that Tangail excelled in reducing poverty in comparison to national average, however, extreme poverty level remained above high. As a district, Tangail mostly received budgetary allocation towards roads and communication while other areas remained relatively unattended.

Moderator of the dialogue, Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow, CPD observed that Tangail’s socio-economic development is rather mixed which is mainly due to uneven development across different areas within the greater district. Policymakers must have close coordination with the district-level administration to drive effective development measures.

Dr Bhattacharya also observed that legal framework and function of the district council should be reviewed to ensure adequate implementation of the district budget. In order to do this, structure of the local government needs to be strengthened to mobilise local funds.

The need for a local government financing commission is essential to ensure quality of public expenditure, which would determine appropriate financial allocation according to local demand.

He added that the district budget needs clear outline for revenue generation from district level and the government should make sure that tax and VAT are duly being paid locally. The district budget should also particularly address environmental vulnerability, hard-to-reach areas, marginalised people and women and children.

Chief Guest Mr Fazlur Rahman Khan Faruk, Administrator, District Council, Tangail emphasized the importance of district budget in addressing the needs of the local people. He felt that parliamentarians should place justified demands before the government for their constituencies and make sure that a positive influence is improving people’s lives.

Guest of Honour Mr Anwarul Islam Khan, Former Ambassador, observed that quality of education in Tangail declined which needs attention. Regarding the environment, the municipality requires support to carry out improvement of the city to make it more habitable, he said. While budgeting, Tangail was not prioritized for its specialties, such as a huge potential for tourism, observed Mr Khan.

Special Guest Professor Mirza Mohammad Abdul Momen, Former Chairman, Sadat Government College proposed that the government should facilitate import of raw materials for Tangail Sarees with India, according to the requirements of the local people. He urged to incentivize local crafts to develop them into exportable items.

The discussion, chaired by Educationist Professor Sekender Hayat, was addressed by Chief Guest Mr Fazlur Rahman Khan Faruk, Administrator, District Council, Tangail; Honorary Guest Mr Anwarul Islam Khan, Former Ambassador and Special Guest Professor Mirza Mohammad Abdul Momen, Former Chairman, Sadat Government College.

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Over 50 people from different walks participated in the floor discussion, underscoring the local requirements and lapses in budgetary allocation for Tangail. Suggestions that emerged from the discussion covered decentralization of district budget and strengthening district council; improving local roads and markets and railway and highway communication to the capital; facilitating conveyance of Tangail’s thriving poultry sector; setting up cold storage to preserve local produce particularly pineapple;  industrialization without hampering agricultural land in Tangail; involving gender dimension in district budget; building embankment for growing river erosion and lifting sluicegate from the dead Louhojong river; facilitating healthcare, particularly for women and children at local level and isolated areas; need for vocational training for a huge population and call for improving sanitation, etc.

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