Speakers at a budget reporting workshop on Wednesday said that preparing the national budget for FY 2023-24 will be a challenging job amid global economic downturn and the IMF’s pressure to cut subsidies.
They said the governments will try to give a popular budget in the election year, but the International Monetary Fund (IMF) wants reforms in the financial sector and reduction of subsidies by increasing the prices of electricity and fuel oil.
They said this while speaking in a workshop on budget reporting, organised jointly by Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID), The Asia Foundation, and Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF).
The government has to focus on raising revenue collection by increasing the tax net and stopping tax evasion to meet the expenditures, the speakers said.
Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, Chairman of RAPID, and Dr M Abu Eusuf, executive director of RAPID, gave separate presentations highlighting different sectors of the budget emphasising on the need for increasing government expenditures.
They also emphasised on the need for increasing the tax-GDP ratio through increasing the capacity of NBR and tax officials as it is related to raising the government’s ability to spend more on welfare and development sectors.
Shamsul Huq Zahid of the English Daily the Financial Express said the budget is a state document of expenditures, but the budget lost its importance while bureaucrats prepare a budget that is only read out in Parliament.
He said that people’s engagement is very important to make the budget pro-poor and need-based.
Zahid also opposed any steps for hiking or reducing prices of different products by NBR’s SROs. He said all such decisions should be determined in Parliament.
ERF president Mohammad Refayet Ullah Mirdha presided over the discussion meeting.