Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presents the budget of 2019-20 fiscal at parliament
Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presents the budget of 2019-20 fiscal at parliamentFile photo

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Tuesday urged the government not to keep any provision of whitening the black money in the forthcoming national budget in the name of creating employment by attracting investment and boosting revenue generation.

The Bangladesh chapter of the Berlin-based organisation termed such scope in the budget "discriminatory and unconstitutional" and graft-supportive, reports news agency UNB.

The second budget session (8th session) of the 11th parliament will begin at 5:00pm on Wednesday amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

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Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal will place a Tk 556,978-crore proposed national budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year in the Jatiya Sangsad giving an outline of recovering the economy from the negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic in his budget speech.

TIB condemned the government move to expand scope of whitening undisclosed money through buying flats, land as well as investing those in development projects and the stock market

The minister will also narrate various steps the government has already taken to face the adverse impact of COVID-19 and save people’s lives and livelihoods.

Citing media reports, TIB condemned the government move to expand scope of whitening undisclosed money through buying flats, land as well as investing those in development projects and the stock market, said a press release.

“The forthcoming budget is not only giving the opportunity to whiten black money on a large scale but also it's going to remove the provision of Anti-Corruption Commission to question the source... it cannot be desired,” said TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman.

He noted that the country's economy never benefited from this facility in the past years neither it helped collect significant revenue. “Rather it questioned the government's anti-corruption stance.”

The TIB executive director urged the government to refrain from taking such a move and termed it ‘discriminatory’ towards the honest citizens.

TIB demanded swift initiative to investigate huge foreign investments by multiple influential individuals and groups.

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“I urge the government to take appropriate and effective accountability measures by exploring their sources of money instead of indulging them,” Iftekharuzzaman said.

He highlighted the tragic exposure of the health sector condition of the country due to the COVID-19 situation. “Such a fragile situation in the health sector was not created in a day.”

"Years after years, inadequate funding in the health sector, lack of coherence in spending, and rampant corruption in the sector have led to such catastrophes," he said.

TIB put forward a set of recommendations for the forthcoming national budget which includes adequate allocations to the health sector, increasing employment, and social security for people who have recently fallen below the poverty line due to the pandemic.

It also demanded an effective anti-corruption roadmap by ensuring transparency and accountability in all types of procurement, distribution and expenditure in these sectors.

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