The government needs to spend Tk 8,978 crore or 32 per cent of the sum allocated to the revised Annual Development Programme by June, the last month of the outgoing fiscal year, said official sources.
Only 68 per cent, or Tk 19,522 crore, of the revised outlay of Tk 28,500 crore was spent for project implementation in 11 months till May, according to the Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the Ministry of Planning.
It is not possible to disburse the remaining sum of Tk 8,978 crore in only one month, said officials.
The government, sensing the poor performance rate of ADP implementation, had earlier revised the initial ADP allocation down to Tk 28,500 crore from Tk 30,500 crore.
In the last three fiscal years (2008-09, 2007-08, 2006-07), the country’s rate of development was only 61 per cent.
In a post-budget press conference, finance minister AMA Muhith said that the government would ensure cent-per-cent implementation of the ADP in the outgoing fiscal year.
Mirza Azizul Islam, former finance adviser to a caretaker government, said, ‘The ADP implementation rate is still poor though the fiscal year is about to come to an end. In spite of that the government has again set aside a big sum for the Annual Development Programme in the proposed budget. It won’t benefit the country, unless full implementation of the ADP is ensured by increasing capacity.’
Referring to the ADP allocation for the outgoing financial year, Mirza Aziz said that not more than Tk 24,000 crore, out of Tk 28,500 crore allocated, could be spent this fiscal year for lack of capacity, and only 68 per cent of the total sum was disbursed in the last 11 months.
He was also critical of the huge outlay of Tk 38,500 crore for the ADP planned for the next fiscal year. ‘It is in no way possible to spend more than Tk 9,000 crore every quarter because of the May-June syndrome,’ he said.
He explained that the ‘May-June syndrome’ means more fund disbursement in the last quarter of the financial year.
The rate of implementation of the ADP projects of the Local Government and Cooperatives Division was 54 per cent, of the Power Division 54 per cent, of the Roads and Railways Division 62 per cent, of the health ministry 60 per cent, of the education ministry 75 per cent, of the agriculture ministry 73 per cent, of the water resources ministry 51 per cent, of the energy ministry 79 per cent, of the home affairs ministry 86 per cent, of the liberation war affairs ministry only 27 per cent, of the Bangladesh Election Commission 58 per cent, of the industry ministry 80 per cent, of the jute and textiles ministry 49 per cent, of the foreign affairs ministry only 4 per cent, of the woman and children affairs ministry 79 per cent, of the environment ministry 55 per cent, of the water resources ministry 51 per cent, of the Food Division only 27 per cent, of the disaster and relief ministry 77 per cent, of the Chittagong Hill Tracts affairs ministry 56 per cent, of the civil aviation and tourism ministry 58 per cent, of the Bridge Division 53 per cent, of the finance ministry 46 per cent and of the Anti-Corruption Commission 34 per cent only.

New Age: Asif Showkat


Dhaka, May 11 (UNB) – The leaders of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) on Tuesday demanded that the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) should have to take permission from the apex body prior to filing a case against any businessman.

The FBCCI also suggested in their budget proposal to raise the individual income tax ceiling, re-fixing the corporate tax rate and forming a national tax tribunal.

It also wanted that the lawmakers and cabinet members pay tax on their remunerations.

The FBCCI, however, in their budget proposal did not mention anything about the legalization of untaxed money, popularly known as black money, as the apex body president said there was not much response in this regard.

The demands were placed at the 31st Consultative Committee Meeting of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) held at a city hotel, organized jointly by NBR and the FBCCI.

Taking part in the discussion, Hameem Group chairman AK Azad, also a president candidate in the upcoming FBCCI election, demanded that the ACC take permission from the FBCCI prior to filing cases against businessmen. In this connection, he mentioned that the ACC needs permission from the government for filing cases against government officials.

Echoing with the opinion, FBCCI president Annisul Huq said the ACC would have to wait for the approval from the apex trade body before they sue any businessman.

Economic Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr. Mashiur Rahman spoke on the occasion as chief guest as Finance Minister AMA Muhith could not attend the function due to sudden illness.

Chaired by FBCCI president Annisul Huq, the function was also addressed, among others, by NBR chairman Dr. Nasiruddin Ahmed. FBCCI first vice president Abul Kashem Ahmed gave the welcome address.

Speaking as chief guest, Dr. Mashiur Rahman said that rational and efficient tax regime should be established in the country. “The rates should remain stable for a long time. If the customs and tax rates do not remain stable, investment might suffer.”

Admitting the inadequate infrastructures in the country, he said the investment would have to be doubled and as quickly as possible to have the desired growth in the country.

FBCCI president Annisul Huq said that although the country is doing well to some extent in macroeconomic sector, but problem still lies in infrastructures.

“The present government is not liable for the power crisis. Although the government is now taking some decisions in this regard, but it seems we have to suffer for some time.”

He said that the government is yet to take decision on coal policy and emphasized releasing infrastructure and power bonds in the market.

The FBCCI chief said they did not recommend keeping the provision of whitening black money as there was not much response in this regard.

He also underscored the need for reducing bank interest rates, taking short-, mid- and long-term plans on reducing traffic jam, digitalizing administration, making more allocation for education, technology and research, developing tourism, increasing social safety net and discontinuing the Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSI) system.

In their proposal on income tax, the FBCCI suggested raising the individual income tax ceiling to Tk 200,000 from the present Tk 165,000 while the minimum tax at Tk 2,000.

The country’s apex business body also proposed to raise the tax-free income ceiling for women, the elderly and disabled persons to Tk 300,000 from the present Tk 250,000.

On re-fixing the corporate tax rate, they proposed 25 percent rate for listed companies, 30 percent for non-listed companies and 40 percent for bank, insurance, financial institutions and mobile phone companies.

The FBCCI budget proposal on income tax also included keeping tax free the dividend from the listed companies up to Tk 25,000, bringing all – from executive to judiciary irrespective of their designation – under the income tax net, making the income from agro-processing industries tax free till 2015 and also keeping the income from software and IT enabled services tax free for the resident Bangladeshis till 2015.

On import duty, the FBCCI suggested reducing the import duty on capital machineries to 1 percent, intermediary import duty on raw materials to 3 percent, on locally produced intermediary raw materials and essential items to 12 percent, and on luxury items to 25 percent.

They also suggested the government for exempting duty on imported raw materials, forming committee on Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), committee on product classification and evaluation committee at every customs station.

On VAT, the FBCCI suggested reducing the rate of VAT, to ensure VAT realization at the small, retailer and shop owner level, appointing 500 auditors at the VAT Division and fixing percentage of wastage for different products.

Tariff Commission chairman Dr. Mozibur Rahman, DCCI president Abul Kasem Khan, FBCCI director Gazi Golam Dastagir MP, ICC-B president Mahbubur Rahman, and Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Selima Ahmed, among others, took part in the discussion.


DHAKA, June 13 (BSS) – Leaders of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) today termed the proposed budget for fiscal 2010-11 as progressive and pro-growth as well as implementable one.

“Its not at all an ambitious budget but its qualitative implementation seems a challenge of the government,” FBCCI
president Annisul Huq said at a post-budget press conference at a
city hotel.

The FBCCI president said the business community has greeted
the budget saying it’s a pro-growth budget considering the size
of Annual Development prorgamme (ADP) and huge allocation for the
development of the human resource and power sector.

“But we have some observations and would like to share our
views with the government about the macro economic financial
policies of the proposed budget,” he said.

Huq said the business community believes the crisis of energy
and power sector would be reduced if the government could
successfully implement its five-year action plan as per the
proposed budget.

“We also welcomed the proposed allocation of Taka 3000 crore
as well as forming a new policy for increasing Public-Private
Partnership,” he said, adding, “we believe under the new policy
of PPP and the proposed budget the development activities will
gain a new pace with huge participation of the private sector.”

The FBCCI also thanked the government for allocating Taka
1600 crore to the Bangladesh Infrastructure Finance Fund as well
as keeping the stimulus package and allocating Taka 2000 crore to
it for the business community in the backdrop of regaining the
global economic recession.

However, the business community believes that policies about
building economic zones and industrial clusters need to be
formulated before finalizing the proposed budget for implementing
the government vision of turning the country into a middle income

Huq said they observed that the proposal of increasing the
amount of import tax and value added tax (VAT) at different
sectors in the new budget may trigger the inflation rate.

Referring to the proposed increase of Advance Income Tax on
import as import duty on various products, Annisul Huq said
government should increase the amount of tax in a sustainable way
not creating pressure on the business community.

“We are not against the raising of tax, we would like to
request the government to increase the tax net not the tax
depth,” he said.

He said that the business community would talk with the
government about various aspects of budget with their set of
recommendations to reduce the amount of import duty and VAT.

FBCCI First Vice President Abul Kashem Ahmed, Director Abdul
Huq and President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries
Abul Kashem Khan and President candidate for the next committee A
K Azad were also present among others.

Source: BSS

Representative from civil society and some social organisations demanded the government to initiate budget formulation from district level to make the next national budget a democratic and pro-poor one. They termed the present budget formulation process undemocratic. Calling it also discriminatory, they also affirmed that any budget formulation without ensuring people’s active participation can not be democratic and therefore it will surely fail to reflect people’s demand.

ActionAid, in collaboration with Governance Coalition and seven divisional civil society organisations, organised a convention titled National Budget 2010 on Democratic Budget Movement held on Sunday at Shahid Amin Khan Memorial Hall of BIAM Foundation. Social Welfare Minister M Enamul Huq Mostafa was present as chief guest while the programme was chaired by M Hafizuddin Khan, former Adviser to the Caretaker Government and also former Auditor and Comptroller General.

ActioAid Country Director Farah Kabir moderated the inaugural ceremony of the daylong programme that also includes a number of view-sharing meetings where public representatives from across the country lifted the problem of their communities.

Social Welfare Minister, M Enamul Huq Mostafa said that the process of budget formulation has now become more transparent and democratic as the government used to give a hint about the size of the budget and also sector-wise allocation well-ahead of the budget declaration. “Such sharing encourages rigorous discussion and debates around the issue which helps the government assess people’s expectation and thereby create scope for incorporating their demands in the budget,” Enamul Huq Mostafa said.

He assured that the present government, which assumed power with people’s mandate, would not formulate any budget taking people’s demand into no account.

Former adviser M Hafizuddin opined that practice of keeping itself aloof from budget discussion by the main opposition impedes the democratic process of budget formulation. He underscored the need for conducting social audit for the budget that will be conducted by the common people and also suggested strong monitoring of budget utilisation.

Dr M Farashuddin, chairman of Bangladesh Unnayan Parisad, stressed the need for designing proper plan during budget formulation to ensure equal distribution of our limited resource among the marginalised poor people.

The experts at the programme underscored the need for a decentralised government system to ensure an overall development of the country and termed further strengthening of local government as a key to a decentralised government.

The participants placed a 30-point recommendation before the government to make the national budget more democratic.

Some of the key proposals include: clear direction about making district-level budget in the 2010-11 fiscal budget; ensuring minimum 10 percent allocation from the GDP for the education, health and other social sector; and enactment of Food Security Act instead of Social Safety-net Programme and create adequate fund for scale up national employment opportunity.

Some nine representatives from different part of the country who presented their regional demand are Minhajul Islam, hailed from Chittagong, Dr Mizanur Rahman from Barisal, Khalid Hossain from Khulna, Mushfeka Razzak from Rangpur, Hasan Millat from Rajshahi, Advocate Habibuzzaman Khurram from greater Mymensingh and Muktadur Ahmed from Sylhet haor area.

The New Nation

Speakers at a pre-budget discussion held at Chilmari in Kurigram district said yesterday that enhanced participation of grassroots citizens can ensure formulation of a more pro-people and effective national budget.

To ensure balanced and uniform developments and bringing the backward areas to the mainstream national advancements, there is no alternative to involving the grass root level people in formulating the national budgets, they added.

They suggested for enhanced people’s participation from all walks in the society including womenfolk to formulate and properly implement the upcoming national budget everywhere to turn Bangladesh into a medium income nation by the year 2021.

They said this at the discussion tilted ‘Participation of the Citizens in the National Budget Formulation’ jointly organized by Chilmari Distressed Development Foundation (CDDF) and Democracy Watch (DW) with the assistances of USAID and Progoti.

Held at Chilmari upazila parishad premises, the discussion was chaired by UNO Enamul Haque while President of Chilmari upazila unit Awami League and Chilmari upazila chairman Shawkat Ali Bir Bikram attended as the chief guest.

Upazila vice-chairman Zamshidul Islam, Chief Advisor of CDDF Abdur Rouf Sarker, Senior Programme Officer of DW Shameem Al Mamun and former Commander of Chilmari Upazila Muktijoddha Sangshad Nazrul Islam attended as the special guests.

Executive Director of CDDF Lutfar Rahman, Secretary of Chilmari Press Club SM Nurul Amin Sarker, social worker Golam Haider, former union member Marjina Begum, teacher Upendra Nath Barman and common people addressed.

The speakers demanded enhanced participation of the local people and representatives of all communities and adopt their suggestions and opinions for preparing the best ever national budget that will speak for the people, their welfare and developments.

They said that sustainable, uniform and smooth developments of all areas and regions would be hampered and welfare of every citizen be affected without knowing problems and exploring potentials and needs of every area. They urged for coming out of the centrally prepared budget and its controlled implementation cultures and ensure citizens’ involvements is formulating the most ideal and pro-people budget for building a developed digital Bangladesh.

The area-based local economic potentials could not be properly explored in the prospective agriculture, animal husbandry, poultry, diary, weaving, handlooms, mineral resources including coals, silk and other sectors without taking local opinions, they said. The local people want maximum and timely explorations of the huge natural and manpower resources of backward northern region in overcoming local hurdles for the purpose in boosting country’s industrializations, they said.

They urged for putting due emphasis on setting up of coal-fueled power stations, small, medium and heavy industries, involving more womenfolk with SMEs, enhanced infrastructural developments for faster changing of the socio- economic conditions. Without emancipation of local citizens in formulating national budget, it would be difficult to identify the available prospects and possibilities those are now prevailing at different areas and regions for development of the rural citizens, they said.

The speakers put special emphasis for boosting SMEs involving more women and rural people for expanding business and income-generating activities by setting up of the need-based potential industries counting the local prospects and possibilities.

They specially urged for construction of a bridge on the river Teesta to connect Chilmari with Gaibandha reducing distance by 100 km, launching special allowances for the teachers working in the char areas and ferry service on Chilmari-Bahadurabad route.

Besides, they demanded for setting up of small-, medium- and heavy- and agro-based and milk-processing industries in Chilmari, extension of the right bank river protection embankments of the Brahmaputra, launching intercity train service from Chilmari and modernization of Chilmari Hospital.

Source:The New Nation

Economists in a pre-budget discussion have suggested giving area-wise instead of countrywide subsidy and energy incentives to small and medium entrepreneurs for at least next two years.

The economists also urged the government to impose capital gain tax on the banks and city congestion tax to reduce traffic jam. They made the call yesterday at the pre-budget discussion with Finance Minister AMA Muhith held at the Finance Division.

Former finance adviser of the caretaker government M Hafizuddin Khan said the government should form a commission to find out why the ADP could not be implemented and suggest remedies.

A large number of entrepreneurs and households are producing electricity due to ongoing power crisis using diesel-run generators, which eat up a huge amount of fuel.

Hafizuddin said the government could consider setting up a diesel-run power plant for the capital.

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Executive Director Mustafizur Rahman said there is no possibility of power deficiency being overcome in next two years as per the government plan.

The government should give energy subsidy to small and medium entrepreneurs for at least two years to make up for the losses incurred due to power crunch.

The government is going to take a big size ADP but the finance minister’s budget speech should spell out which ways the ADP would be implemented.

BIDS Research Director Rushidan Islam suggested formulation of a special scheme for areas affected by climate change and disasters. She said the government could make allocations for coastal employment schemes and disaster insurance schemes in the next budget.

She added before giving any privilege to the readymade garments factory owners, the government should ensure that the workers are given proper wages and other facilities.

Former governor of Bangladesh Bank M Farash Uddin suggested formation of an accreditation council to improve quality of education in the public and private universities. He said the council must be given sufficient independence.

Agricultural economist Mahbub Hossain said the price of agricultural equipment has fallen much in the international market. So, instead of giving countrywide agricultural subsidy, he suggested subsidy for selected areas.

Chartered accountant Mashih Malik Chowdhury said capital gain tax should be imposed on the banks as they are making huge profit by investing in the share market.

He said at present the tax rate on the banks is 42.5 percent, but if their profit on share market is taken into account, the rate of real tax on them goes down to below 20 percent.

Malik suggested imposition of city congestion tax to reduce traffic jam.

CPD researcher Fahmida Khatun said budgetary allocation should be made for rainwater harvesting to combat water crisis.

Former finance secretary Mir Mostafizur Rahman recommended stopping scope to whiten black money in the next budget. “For God’s sake, stop giving scope to whiten black money by giving some tax on purchasing house and cars,” he said.

M Motiul Islam, chairman of Industrial and Infrastructure Development Finance Co Ltd, former adviser of the caretaker government Prof Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, former president of Bangladesh Economic Association Dr Qazi Kholiquzzman Ahmed, BIDS Director General MK Mujeri, Prof Khandker Bazlul Haque and Prof Ashrafuddin from Dhaka University, BIDS Research Director Protima Paul, Prof Nurul Islam from Buet, and CPD researcher Uttam Kumar Dev also spoke.

Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman, Finance Secretary Dr Mohammad Tareq, Chairman of the National Board of Revenue Dr Nasiruddin Ahmed, ERD Secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and Banking Division Secretary Shafiqur Rahman Patwari were present.

Source: Gurumia.com

Dr Abul Barkat, president of Bangladesh Economic Association, speaks at a press conference in Dhaka yesterday. Photo: STAR
Economists praised the proposed budget for fiscal 2010-11, saying it is a ‘pro-people budget’ and has provided a guideline to growth.

Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA), the apex forum of economists, made the observation yesterday at its office.

“It’s a positive budget, having growth momentum,” BEA President Dr Abul Barkat told reporters at the briefing.

The finance minister has balanced the requirements of the economy, keeping in mind the necessities, including energy, infrastructure, safety nets, price control and providing fallow land for the landless, said Barkat.

“Also, there are downside risks that need to be addressed in the final budget.”

According to the BEA, the risks are: a high cost of doing business, implementation of the development programmes, a lack of inter-ministerial coordination, the law and order situation, corruption and implementation of social safety net schemes.

BEA’s observation came three days after the present Awami League-led government placed its second budget in parliament on June 10.

Dr Towfique Ahmad Chowdhury, general secretary of BEA, read out the 16-page ‘reactions and recommendations on the budget’. Other office bearers of the association were present.

Earlier, the BEA submitted 64 recommendations at a pre-budget meeting with the standing committee on the finance ministry. Also, the association presented 73 recommendations at a pre-budget press conference.

“Many of our recommendations were adopted in the budget,” Barkat said.

The finance minister projected a 6.7 percent economic growth rate for the coming year. According to estimates in the budget, the investment to GDP ratio would reach 32 percent from the present rate of 24.2 percent and inflation will be contained within 6.5 percent next year.

Analysts said the growth will depend largely on how the government addresses the energy and infrastructure constraints.

“I hope there will be some radical improvements in the coming year in power generation,” said the BEA president.

The government projected that it would generate 1,000-1,500 MW of electricity in 2010-11.

“But the cost of the electricity will increase significantly, as it will be rental,” said Barkat. He said a unit of electricity generated by furnace oil will cost Tk 7.21, while it will be Tk 12.74 in the case of generation by diesel.

BEA believes the proposed Tk 132,170 crore budget matches the trends and inflation rate. This budget outlay is nearly 20 percent higher than the revised one.

On higher revenue expenditure, the BEA said it is natural because the new pay scale for the government employees will be implemented fully in the coming year. Higher payments for interest and subsidies to farm and power sectors will push the non-development costs up, it said.

On deficit financing, the association said it will not fuel inflation if the money were used for the productive sectors.

It suggested the government supervise and monitor the annual development programmes (ADP) strictly and regularly to see better implementation. It proposed formation of a taskforce to monitor the ADP of 10 large ministries that account for nearly 77 percent of the total spending.

The association also hailed the government for its decision to distribute fallow land to the landless. But it said a land reform commission should be formed in this regard.

Source: Star Business Report