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Political Stability Must for Budget Implementation: Says Speakers at CPD-BEA Budget Dialogue at Chittagong

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A post-budget dialogue titled An Analysis of the National Budget for FY2011-12 was organised by CPD in Chittagong, in association with Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA), Chittagong Chapter on 25 June 2011 at the Chittagong Club Ltd. Auditorium. Mr Mainuddin Khan Badal, MP from Chittagong attended the dialogue as the Chief Guest while Professor M Sekandar Khan, Former President, BEA (Chittagong Chapter) was the Special Guest. Professor Muinul Islam of Chittagong University and Mr Farid Ahmed Chowdhury, Former President of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCCI) were the Designated Discussants. Professor Dr Jyoti Prakash Dutta, President of BEA (Chittagong Chapter) chaired the dialogue, and Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, CPD delivered the welcome speech. The dialogue was addressed by politicians, businessmen, academics, researchers, lawyers, representatives of NGOs, and eminent citizens of Chittagong. Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Senior Research Fellow, CPD presented the highlights of CPD’s analysis of the Budget for FY2011-12.

While commenting on the proposed budget, Mr Farid Ahmed Chowdhury said that for accelerating economic growth decentralisation of the governance system is a must. For the capital market, he suggested to consider legalisation of undisclosed money, but strongly disagreed to provide chances to legalise illegally earned money. He felt that government could consider renewal of alternative power sources such as wind mills, electricity production from gas and coal instead of costly rental power plants to resolve energy crisis.

Professor Muinul Islam did not find the budget ambitious. He remarked that though government was successful in agriculture, education and load shedding management in FY2010-11, in many other sectors performance was disappointing. He criticised lower allocation in agriculture and education sectors in this year’s budget. He also remarked that the government has turned the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) into a ‘toothless tiger’ by snatching all its power away.

Professor M Sekandar Khan stated that this year’s budget contains a lots of anticipation, but it hardly provided any guideline for implementation. He was critical about inclusion of the number of carryover projects and significantly lesser number of new projects in the ADP.

Addressing the dialogue as the Chief Guest, Mr Mainuddin Khan Badal, MP commented, “this year’s budget contains everything except any development plan for Chittagong.” He expressed his concerns regarding political instability which, according to him, had hampered economic growth of the country. Addressing the transit issue, he suggested not to expose the entire inland, but to consider a shorter (Nazirhat-Ramgar) route for transit. He argued for a four-lane ‘coastal highway’ from Patenga to Mirsharai to expand connection of the port city to the capital. For the sake of development of Chittagong, he urged for a separate authority for the Karnafuli River to protect it from industrial pollution and to ensure water flow.

Among others, Mr Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, First Vice-President, BGMEA; Mr Mazharul Hoque Shah Chowdhury, Former MP; Professor Emeritus Jamal Nazrul Islam, Former Vice-Chancellor Professor Alamgir Mohammad Sirajuddin, and Professor Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury of Chittagong University presented their valuable comments during the open floor discussion of the dialogue.

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