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Tuesday, June 5, 2018 11:10:03 PM
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Mega budget for raising false hope: No budget concession needed for fixing election

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FINANCE Minister AMA Muhith is set to place a mega budget of around 'Tk 468,200 crore' in Parliament tomorrow for the fiscal year 2018-19 to mislead the people about hopeful progress. Those, who think that approaching election is a consideration for the budget -- is a misconception. Anybody, who also thinks that the government is going to hold election under its authority and to suffer doubts about its success in fixing the election - is also a wrong perception. So, do not consider the new budget has anything to buy support of the voters. The votes are in the bags of the government.
Talking to reporters at his Secretariat office on Monday, the Finance Minister, however, did not want to give any exact figure of the budget size saying it will be more or less Tk 468,000 crore, as per a local daily report.
The Finance Minister indicated that there will be an allocation for Rohingyas in the next budget. He is going to set a rare example by placing the 10th consecutive budget of the current government. The revenue collection target for the coming fiscal year is likely to be fixed at Tk 340,775 crore, up 18 percent from that of the current fiscal year. Officials said the revenue target will be fixed in such a way so that the budget deficit remains within 5 percent. The number of taxpayers is around 33 lakh and it is still rising.
This budget must not do certain things. It must not impose taxes which contribute to inflation. It must take into account the massive levels of inflation over the last eight years and therefore reduce income taxes so as to increase the disposable real income of the poor and middle classes. It must find ways of getting more revenue from the super rich or wealthy by increasing their taxes.
One thing which it must not do is to subsidise the criminal loan scams by injecting public funds into banks with previously corrupt corporate governance. There are many better uses for public funds--with the over 10,000 crores which it has injected into the scam hit banking sector we could have built almost 50 percent of the Padma Bridge. But the Finance Minister has unfortunately indicated that event this time around Tk 2000 crore will be spent for this reason.
It is the last budget of this government's five year tenure. It is no surprise that the government would pursue a big budget targeting the next election to appease the bottom and mid-bottom of the economic pyramid-representing the largest vote bank. As it will be an ambitious budget, we doubt over achieving the GDP target at 7.8 percent.
There is no possibility of fresh investment either in private or public sector. The Finance Minister is damn lucky that he does not have to prove success. But it is possible that the lies of hollow economy will be exposed before long.

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