Several rights groups on Saturday termed the revenue collection strategy in the budget proposals for 2021-22 fiscal as inadequate in tackling the poverty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The budget lacks in direction to ensure justice in the redistribution of proposed budget resources, they said at a virtual press conference of the groups and networks led by EquityBD.
EquityBD Chief Moderator Rezaul Karim Chowdhury conducted the event, while Ahsanul Karim of the same organization presented the written points.
Ahsanul said the finance minister did not mention anything about recovery approach of the poor and the middle class, even though it plans to collect Tk. 3.30 trillion in revenue and expanded tax and VAT in rural areas.
This is a discriminatory approach in present situation of unemployment and redistributive justice, they said.
The activists also demanded an overall reformation of the banking sector aimed at curbing illicit money laundering from the country.
“Better the government should declare at least VAT exemption on daily essentials to ease the livelihood pressure on poor and middle classes”, he said.
He put five demands: strengthen governance mechanism and its practices in financial sector especially in bank sector; capacitate NBR with modern technologies to strengthen the income tax collection; declaration of VAT exemption for poor and middle classes on at least on ten daily essentials and declare unemployment allowance for job losers as direct financial support package.
Government must take necessary step in reducing corruption in all sector specially focusing on public procurement practices, he said.
Md. Abdul Awal from SUPRO [Campaign for Good Governance], Md. Hasan Mehedi of CLEAN [Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network], Syed Aminul Hoque of EquityBd and Md. Mostafa Kamal Akand from COAST Foundation also spoke in the press conference.
Abdul Awal said that government’s development ideology and budgeting plan is somehow unable to reach the poor and marginal people.
Hasan Mehedi said that country’s debt burden is now around 40% of GDP and the proposed borrowing plan will increase the burden again indeed.
Rezaul Karim said that government has created confusion on black money whitening.
The proposed budget, he said, is silent on how to stop capital flight which could be a great source of resource mobilization. This is an injustice considering the values of the Liberation War, he added.