Describing the proposed national budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year as an "imaginary, blunt and unimplementable" one, BNP on Friday said it will only inflict further sufferings on people at this time of coronavirus pandemic.
The party also said the budget made the nation frustrated as it was not framed with any focus on protecting the lives and livelihoods of people and overcoming the current crisis.
Speaking at a virtual press conference on the budget, party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the government has proposed huge allocations for mega projects and power schemes only to allow corruption and create scopes for ruling party men to plunder public money.
On Thursday, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal placed a Tk 5,68,000 crore national budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year in Parliament.
“This budget is literally nothing but rhetoric. The budget is not a people-friendly one,” Fakhrul said.
He said the government should have made a ‘special corona budget’ coming out of the traditional budget structure to save people’s lives and get rid of the economic crisis. “But the Finance Minister placed a traditional and unimplementable budget which made the nation frustrated.”
Stating that their party had placed an outline of a three-year medium-term budget with a specific recovery plan on Tuesday, the BNP leader said the finance minister unveiled a general budget ignoring their suggestions and the opinions of economists.
He said there is no specific proposal in the budget for building the foundation of a suitable economy by overcoming the corona crisis.
Fakhrul also said there have been no adequate allocations in the budget for health, education, social safety net and food security.
He also said the GDP growth and revenue collection targets which have been set in the budget amid the coronavirus pandemic is "tantamount to a deception". “The target of 8.2 percent GDP growth is imaginary, and achieving such a goal is too difficult.”
The BNP leader said the current microeconomic indicators such as import, export, investment and employment clearly manifest that achieving an 8.2 percent growth is only an imaginary estimate. “We need 32-34 percent investment to make it happen, but it’s difficult and impossible.”
He criticised the government for what he said keeping the black money whitening option in the budget.
As ruling party men have ‘amassed’ huge wealth by indulging in ‘unprecedented corruption’ for over a decade, the BNP leader said the government has widened the black money whitening scope for them to legalise their ill-gotten money.
“We call upon the government to refrain from taking such an unethical, corruption-friendly, discriminatory and unconstitutional step, ” he added.
The BNP leader urged the government to take effective steps to bring back crores of taka siphoned off from the country.
He said it was an expectation of all that an adequate allocation would be made for the development of the health sector in the wake of corona pandemic. “The allocation given for the health sector is not enough as much more should have been allocated for this sector.”
He said sufficient budgetary allocation is necessary for the health sector for its modernisation and procuring equipment and improving the services of the hospital as people are now crying out for oxygen cylinders and treatment.
The BNP leader said patients suffering from corona and other critical diseases are now depending on "divine blessings" for their recovery as the health sector has collapsed.
Fakhrul urged the government to slash the allocations made for mega projects and shift those to the health sector.
Not only BNP, he said, but also economic experts are saying that the proposed budget will not be very useful to deal with the current situation as it has not been formulated based on reality.