Economic stability, social safety defocused in budget Says Dr Debapriya

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Staff Reporter
The proposed budget for FY25 does not adequately address economic stability, protect the financial condition of disadvantaged segments of society, or introduce necessary reforms amidst the current crisis, said Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and convener of Citizen’s Platform for SDGs.

Speaking at a media briefing organized by Citizen’s Platform for SDGs at the BRAC Centre in Mohakhali on Monday, he emphasized the importance of economic stability to align investment with inflation, balance the foreign exchange deficit, sustain growth, and create employment opportunities.

“We do not see any relief in these areas in the proposed budget, nor is there a plan to resolve these issues,” he added.

Dr. Bhattacharya highlighted the lack of major political commitment in the proposed budget to address necessary reforms in critical sectors such as energy, banking, and the stock market through government and administrative structures.

At the event, M Masrur Reaz, chairman and CEO of Policy Exchange Bangladesh, expressed concerns about non-performing loans affecting small traders. “A significant portion of non-performing loans has been looted.

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This affects small traders. The loans the government plans to take will also affect small businesses because banks will allocate funds intended for small traders to the government,” he said.

Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), criticized the budget for offering another opportunity to whiten black money, which he described as unconstitutional.

“Since 1972, Tk4,600 crore of black money has been legalized. The proposed budget offers another opportunity to whiten black money, which is unconstitutional,” he stated.

Senior Research Fellow of CPD Towfiqul Islam Khan, who presented the keynote address, pointed out that rural poverty is increasing rapidly.

“This time, the government focused on increasing VAT collection from a larger population to address the financial shortfall,” he noted.

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