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Economists laud finance minister's move for stakeholders' dialogue

  • Published at 10:27 pm July 20th, 2019
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Mirza Azizul Islam thinks that implementing annual development program (ADP) does not need to be discussed with external stakeholders

Prominent economists have lauded the willingness of Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal to organize dialogue with different stakeholders throughout the fiscal year to get better results out of budget implementation.

Talking to reporters at an informal briefing on Thursday, the finance minister said that dialogue with stakeholders would be organized from time to time this year and assured that such talks would continue from now on.   

"This year, we will introduce post-budget dialogue to get suggestions as to how we can get better feedback in budget implementation. We will also inform the nation about the status of implementation of the budget from now onwards," AHM Mustafa Kamal said.  

The Finance Minister also mentioned that only the pre-budget dialogues were organised earlier.

Hailing the finance minister's move, former adviser to a caretaker government AB Mirza Azizul Islam says: "Of course, I welcome this. It will help the government to accelerate budget implementation status throughout the year."

He notes that every stakeholder should discharge respective responsibility with regard to implementation of budget. "Other than blaming the government, every stakeholder should act responsibly. That will work in accelerating budget implementation status," he states.

Mirza Azizul Islam thinks that implementing annual development program (ADP) does not need to be discussed with external stakeholders. "It is the routine duty of the IMED (Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division)," he says.    

He, however, thinks that the tax revenue issue may be discussed with all stakeholders as private sector is the main stakeholder of it. Even, problems of government enterprises over the non-tax revenue issue may be fixed through discussions, he adds.

He says: "It is necessary to come out of the trend in which official data state 50 to 55 percent progress in budget implementation in the first 10 months and then suddenly the achievement goes up by another 40 percent in the remaining two months.”  

Besides, politicizing and dishonesty need to be avoided in getting higher and meaningful progress in budget implementation, he stresses.

Additional Research Director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Khondaker Golam Moazzem also finds positive the finance minister's initiative of holding dialogues in budget implementation phases and makes some observations.

"Firstly, it is widely alleged that opinions taken during pre-budget meetings with different stakeholders are not reflected in the final budget. So, it remains to see how much such stakeholders' dialogue in the implementation phase will work," he said.

"Secondly, the former finance minister had introduced a quarterly (every three months) report by the government over the status of budget implementation, which did not continue later," he mentions.

"This is positive that the government is eager to make public internal developments about budget implementation. But, what is more important is to present the status of budget implementation in parliament so that members of the parliament are informed and give their opinions."

Golam Moazzem suggests that stakeholders should come up with pragmatic data about respective projects and responsibilities with regard to components of budget.   

And, there should be a follow-up mechanism so that actions taken on the basis of stakeholders' opinion can be placed at the next dialogue, he adds.

He says the dialogues should be interactive to harvest desired progress in budget implementation.