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The tax-happy fat budget

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15th-Jun-2019       
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THE government in the FY 2019-20 budget announcement set many promises including 8.2 percent GDP growth rate and bring down the inflation at 5.5 percent. In first look, we think the promises are over ambitious. The ever biggest budget of Tk 523,190 crore is a may appear as biggest mockery with the people if the promises won't be fulfilled. A large number of people are in continuous deprivation of basic needs and amenities when the income gap between rich and poor strata is ever widened, and prevalence of corruption is high. The budget speaks for essential reforms in tax machinery, cleaning up the banking sector and upgrading the education system to tap the country's potential, but there is no concrete action plan or timeline.
The deficit budget will largely rely on the National Board of Revenue for supplying Tk 325,600 crore in fiscal 2019-20, up 16.29 percent from this year's revised budget. This is a lofty target, while the NBR managed to collect Tk 153,477 crore in the first nine months of FY 2018-19, meaning more than Tk 126,522 crore has to be collected in the last three months. In his maiden budget, the Finance Minister set plan to establish revenue offices in every upazila for bringing in more people under the tax net, simplifying the laws and processes for income tax, value-added tax and customs, and checking corruption. But there are no details about how he would do that.
Finance Minister underscored for banking sector reform which is going through a tough situation accompanying by default loan and loan scam. However, the need for enhancing the quality of human resources did get some attention in the budget. The Agriculture Sector, which is still the backbone of the economy, has been less prioritised in comparison with other sectors. But the biggest hole in the budget is the absence of any special plan for the mega infrastructural projects.
Announcing big budget doesn't reflect big success of the government. Rather, the success will depend on its careful and sincere implementation without corruption and misuse of funds.

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