Pitfalls are enormous, fails to address the critical problems of the widening inequality
Dr Kamal Hossain has categorically rejected the national budget for FY2019-20, saying it has been framed to protect the interest of a handful of businesspeople, and politicians, disregarding the greater good of common people.
"This is not a budget for people. We reject this budget," said Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain.
He made the remarks at a press conference at the National Press Club on Saturday.
Dr Kamal said, Gono Forum came up with the reaction to the budget to inform people about how much their interest is protected, and ignored, so that they can play their due role in determining the country’s future.
"We want people to get organized, and be vocal about it, and we'll do whatever necessary to bring about a change in the government through a democratic process," he reiterated.
Gono Forum General Secretary Reza Kibria said, this budget fails to address the critical problems of the widening inequality, poverty, and unemployment.
"It' is a budget only favouring the interest of a handful of business people, and serving partisan political interests, at the cost of the rest of the nation," he said.
He said this short-sighted, and poorly-designed budget fails to address the real problems facing the nation.
Reza Kibria, son of former Awami League Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria, said the budget of this "unelected" government does neither reflect the will of the country's citizens, nor serve the needs of the nation.
Therefore, he stressed the urgency for holding a free, fair, and credible election without delay to elect a government that will have a genuine mandate from voters.
He said the government needs the confidence and support of the country's people to take difficult steps needed to overcome economic challenges that lie ahead.
Analyzing the proposed budget, the Gono Forum general secretary said, it fails to provide realistic estimates of revenue and borrowing, and does not take into account the large deviations of out-turns from the budget estimates in recent years.
He also said, the budget demonstrates a lack of understanding of the risks posed by the looming financial, and economic crisis being brought about through imprudent macroeconomic policies of the past few years, and the systematic neglect of governance, and oversight in the banking sector.
"All the indications are that the economy will soon face the impact of microeconomic mismanagement of the recent past. This budget shows a lack of comprehension of the real, and present dangers facing the economy," Reza Kibria observed.
He said unproductive expenditures must be curtailed, and some tough decisions that go against the interest of some powerful quarters need to be taken.
The Gono Forum leader said the official estimates of GDP growth are being questioned by many economists, who have noted the weakness in imports, and revenue growth figures for the past few years. The optimistic growth figures should be interpreted cautiously.