Employment, Entrepreneurship Should Be Given Priority14 May 2022
Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the need for a robust fiscal framework has been felt much more than before. Higher revenue mobilisation and judicious higher expenditure are tough objectives to be met within a system that is not strong enough to implement these and withstand obstructions in the way. Policymakers should not lose sight of reforms of the tax system and public institutions while designing the budget for the recovery. Capacity development of human resources and application of technology have to be a part of the reform measures. On the expenditure side, the growth in government expenditure will have to take the inflationary pressure into account. Hence, the budget deficit will need to be lowered slightly than that of FY2021-22, which is set at 6.2 percent of GDP. Traditionally, it is targeted at five percent. In view of the need for higher public expenditures during the pandemic, it may be set at 5.5 percent of GDP in FY2022-23.The finance minister will soon formulate the third Covid budget, which will be presented at parliament in early June this year. In view of the current circumstances, the budget for FY2022-23 has to address a number of ongoing and emerging challenges while striving to move forward with speed and quality. Whenever the budget is discussed, the first issue that comes to everyone's mind is taxation. The budget is about mobilisation of resources through various ways, the most important of which is tax on people's income. This resource, in turn, is used mainly for development, providing various services to citizens, and the salaries of government employees. Governments mostly depend on resources from their citizens-be it tax, bank borrowing, or sales of national savings certificates. They receive support from abroad at times. They also take loans from international sources. Given the important role of tax in financing economic activities of the government, its efficient collection and utilisation cannot be overemphasised.
We want to reiterate that our efforts and endeavors in ensuring professionalism, transparency and accountability will be tireless. We once again vow to uphold ethical values at any cost. Accountancy projects a clear picture on country's fiscal activities and assists in ensuring corporate good governance. Accountancy is essential for banks, insurance companies, securities, dealers and others who need them. As trade and commerce of the country increases, so does the responsibility of the accountants. In the financial sector of our country, ICAB has a major role to play. Rightly so the institute is pro-active in creating awareness, generating ideas and thoughts, promoting transparency and accountability not only in its own area but also in overall economic affairs of the country. We believe we have been able to bond good ties with all related Government, autonomous or regulatory bodies. We are in touch with NBR, Bangladesh Bank, BSEC, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, LGRD and others. We are ready to work with them in any matter related to training or for the cause of national interests.
We have seen problems in the areas of quality, implementation and predictability. We must demonstrate there are adequate efforts to improve governance - law and order, financial sector, especially state-owned banks. We have said this publicly that they should be shut down. If there is strong political will, governance will be improved. Investment will continue to increase if effective measures are taken to reduce the cost of doing business. We have huge bank reserve. This reserve can be deployed more efficiently and effectively. Huge investment is being done for RMG sector's remediation. This sector can be supported through a special fund. It will help make our economy a jump start. We need coordination between fiscal measures and monetary measures. We hope to get back momentum in the up-coming budget. To cash in the advantage, we must boost coordination and efficiency at all levels.
In the implementation stage, there should be a throughly monitoring and supervision. After that it is to be evaluated with its repeated exercise. Again all ADP budget should be well examined, scrutinised, investigated properly by a panel of experts. Finally, budget execution must be maintained with proper discipline, sincerity, top most honesty and purity. Budget should not be declared as a govt. budget. It must be reflected as peoples' budget. No pilferage should be allowed to direct it in a bad shape. If there is strong coordination, good governance and capability to manage a budget will appear befitting and can reach its goal with its efficient management. And in the long run, budget will be result oriented.
Finally, we can say that budget is nothing but a statement of yearly expenditure and income. Budget preparation is not so a difficult task. But its implementation is a challenging factor. Every year we see many many remarkable comments about budget. Such as: Is budget for the poor, is budget for the rich and what are the pondering points of budget? How budget to be classified and so all? Thorgh the critisiam and discussion and ideal budget is finally placed before the state trough which all the state functionaries are managed. However, budget speaks for all the people of the country. Speacilly budget should focus on poverty alleviation. However, budgets of some consecutive years are highlighting employment generation and enterprenureship. Above all, budget should be made clean and transperant, well supervised and well monitored.
(The writer is former Deputy Director General, Bangladesh Ansar and VDP).