“The northern region of the country has remained neglected by every government and the same situation exists till date,” speakers said in a post-budget dialogue titled Analysis of the National Budget FY2012-13 on 25 June 2012 at the Nanking Darbar Hall, Rajshahi organised by CPD in association with the Department of Economics, Rajshahi University. Professor M Abdur Rahman, Treasurer, Rajshahi University attended the session as the Chief Guest while Professor M Moazzem Hossain Khan, Head of the Department of Economics, Rajshahi University chaired the session. Keynote paper of the session was presented by Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Senior Research Fellow, CPD and the session was moderated by Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, CPD. Designated Discussants of this session were Professor Tareque Saiful Islam, Department of Economics, Rajshahi University and Mr Abdul Awal Chowdhury, Former Director, Rajshahi Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
After presentation of the CPD’s analysis on the proposed budget Professor Tareque Saiful Islam termed the proposed national budget as credit-dependent. He also said government’s target of achieving 7.2 per cent growth rate in FY2013 is highly ambitious.
Drawing attention to the deteriorating silk industry in Rajshahi, Mr Abdul Awal Chowdhury requested for special allocation in the national budget for the growth of the industry. He, however, mentioned that such demand has been placed before Finance Minister on prior occasions but the demand has not been met.
Speakers at the dialogue highlighted that Rajshahi could be considered as a new transit route for regional cooperation among Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Developing a transport infrastructure by utilising the Mongla Port is necessary for the region’s development which requires budget allocation, speakers opined. They demanded immediate implementation of North Rajshahi Irrigation Project to save the region.
The dialogue stressed the need for financial decentralisation for proper implementation of the budget and proposed for inclusion of separate local government budget and regional budget. Speakers observed that this would, over time, help reduce regional inequality which is becoming a major development challenge of the country.
Professor M Abdur Rahman stated that in order to raise revenue government should put emphasis on the automation of tax administration. Professor M Moazzem Hossain Khan appreciated the government for special allocation for railways and stated it as a commendable step.
The dialogue was addressed by politicians, businessmen, academics, researchers, lawyers, representatives of NGOs and eminent citizens from Rajshahi.
The Daily Samakal was the media partner of the event.