Budget is like a helpless sacrificial animal: Wahiduddin Mahmud

Economist Wahiduddin Mahmud speaking at a discussion on the budgetProthom Alo

The overall economy in the country is in a fragile and unstable condition, observed economist Wahiduddin Mahmud.

He said, capital is being siphoned out of the country, the banking sector is in shambles and expenditure is mounting on repayment of interest on foreign loans.

In such a situation, the budget is like a helpless sacrificial animal. It can do nothing.

Wahiduddin Mahmud feels that there is no alternative to shrinking the budget in order to bring about economic stability.

He was speaking at an event organised by the Newspaper Owners Association of Bangladesh (NOAB) and the Editors' Council, on the state of the economy and the proposed budget 2024-25. The event was held today, Monday, at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital.

Fundamental weaknesses have appeared in the overall economic system. There is need for expansive qualitative change or else it will not be possible to overcome the crisis.

Wahiduddin Mahmud raised the question as to whether there was any such initiative from the highest level of government.

The government continues to take foreign loans. Expenditure on interest has increased significantly. Under the circumstances, the budget too may fall into the foreign debt trap, observed Wahiduddin Mahmud.

In his speech, Wahiduddin Mahmud highlighted the chaotic state of the country's economy.

He said, there is no control in the banking sector, the administration is rife with corruption. There was no environment of trust. Black money is flowing freely. There is rampant capital flight. The economy was riddled with problems before, but it had the ability to digest this all these days. But it no longer has that strength and so all these problems are emerging. In face of such reality, he said, firm guidelines were required.

The government wants to build Smart Bangladesh. Wahiduddin Mahmud said, if smart persons are unethical, the situation will be alarming.

Wahiduddin Mahmud went on to say, unless there is a change in the path on which the economy is now progressing, it will not be possible to reach the aspired goal.

The tax-free income ceiling hasn't been raised in the FY2024-25 budget, even though high inflation has been prevailing for long in the country. This has not been given due consideration, feels Wahiduddin Mahmud.

He said, from the tax policy it seems that the revenue system is running like a tiger hunting a deer. In short, the small and powerless are being kept under pressure. He feels that this situation calls for discussion on ethics in economy.

The government wants to build Smart Bangladesh. Wahiduddin Mahmud said, if smart persons are unethical, the situation will be alarming. He also alleged that due to power-centric politics, vested-interest quarters with allegiance to the government were receiving unfair advantages.

Also Read