This tax, loan-based budget looters-friendly: BNP

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir addresses a media conference on proposed national budget on 9 June, 2024Prothom Alo

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party has rejected the proposed national budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 unveiled by finance minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali in parliament on 6 June.

The party said this loan and tax-based budget is rooted on the figment of imagination. It also alleged that the governing Bangladesh Awami League has proposed this budget to legalise its looting.

Key opposition BNP said these in its budget reactions at a media conference organised at the party chairperson’s Gulshan office in the capital Sunday.

Party’s secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir read out a written statement at the media conference.

He said there is no relief for the general people in the proposed budget. Rather this budget is for a few oligarchs who are not only looting, they are doing business, making policies and running the country.

The budget is  a cruel mockery of the economic distress of the people, claimed Mirza Fakhrul.

He said a tax burden has been imposed on the people who are trying to survive amid the prevailing high inflation. The estimated inflation in the budget is 6.5 per cent but it lacks the roadmap to achieve that. Prices of daily essential commodities soar due to some syndicates that thrive at the government shelter. There is no discussion in the budget on how to rein in them.

Dubbing the proposed budget as “a budget to whiten black money”, the BNP secretary general said the scope would discourage the honest tax payers and encourage corruption. This licence to commit corruption is illicit, unethical and unconstitutional. The measure has been taken for the people like Aziz and Benazir who grew at the shelter of the government.

He remarked that the government has planned to repay loans by taking more loans. It has been proposed in the budget to take loans to meet its one-third deficit. The government will lean more towards foreign loans with tougher conditions and the country will fall into a greater debt trap. The burden of this will be on the common people of the country. Currently, every newborn child in the country is born with a debt burden of Tk 155,000.

Claiming that the country is on the verge of bankruptcy, the BNP secretary general said that the reserve and dollar-crisis is one of the main crises of the economy right now. There is no outline in the budget to overcome these crises. There is no direction for employment generation either.

Remarking that the inflated development bubble of Awami League has burst, Mirza Fakhrul said that this budget is not only anti-people, this is anti-Bangladesh. Unnecessary mega projects could have been shelved and utilised in welfare oriented sectors like education, health and agriculture. But that would have stopped the corruption. That is why the entire budget has been prepared for mega theft and corruption.

“Attention has been paid to realising more money from the people who pay tax regularly than from the people who evade tax. This is nothing but a deed of division between the Awami League and their mafia gurus,” said Mirza Fakhrul.

In the question and answer session, the BNP leader said that two-thirds of the budget will go to unproductive sectors like salaries, incentives and subsidies. The only task of the police and administration is to torture the opposition. More is being spent on them.

Speaking about governing Awami League leaders that during the BNP’s tenure, finance minister Saifur Rahman used to go around with a begging plate before every budget, Mirza Fakhrul said just take a look at this year’s budget and it would be clear who is walking around for alms. The entire budget is dependent on alms, there is nothing of its own in it. Deficit will be met with loans from home and abroad. The people of the country have already fallen into the ditch.

BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas, Nazrul Islam Khan and BNP chairperson’s advisory council member Ismail Zabiullah were also present at the conference.