Specific policies are needed for these vulnerable groups and the right direction to implement them
Citizen’s Platform for SDGs Bangladesh on Sunday proposed a number of fiscal budgetary framework, strategic priorities and state of Covid-19 stimulus packages, keeping in purview the upcoming budget for FY2021-22.
In a virtual media briefing on national budget for FY22, they said the current Covid-19 situation has adversely affected every citizen of Bangladesh. But, the impact of pandemic on the marginalized and disadvantaged people is much greater.
Specific policies are needed for these vulnerable groups and the right direction to implement them, said a press release.
They said employment is being restored with low skills and low-income jobs, extensive under-employment, growing indebtedness and deepening inequality are increasing during the second wave. “Budgetary targets are not realized on both resource and expenditure sides. Apparent stability of the macroeconomic situation is also needed in terms of low inflation, stable exchange rate, moderate fiscal deficit and current account surplus.”
The socio-economic impact and the disproportionate impact on traditionally marginalized communities (“left behind”) as well as on low income and low middle-income people (“pushed behind”) will be more protracted than the immediate health emergencies.
Debapriya Bhattacharya, convener, Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh and Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), made the keynote presentation at the media briefing.
The event began with introductory remarks by Anisatul Fatema Yousuf, Coordinator, Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh and Chaired by Advocate Sultana Kamal, Former Executive Director, Ain o Salish Kendra.
Prof Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow, CPD and other members of the platform, including Shaheen Anam, executive director, Manusher Jonno Foundation; Rasheda K Choudhury, executive director, Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE); Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, vice chairperson, Brac; Asif Ibrahim, chairman, Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) & Syed Nasim Manzur, chairman of Landmark Footwear Ltd and founding director, Apex Footwear Ltd, were also present at the event.
In the briefing, the said current circumstances demand special attention to consumption protection of the poor/low-income people and employment promotion at MSME level. To initiate the midterm approach of FY2021-22, there is a need to press all four triggers: (i) consumption, (ii) investment, (iii) government spending and (iv) net exports.
A minimum two-three year time frame to have a robust recovery strategy with core budget, integrating recovery efforts with structural transformation needs, targeted discretionary support to the “left behind” and “push behind” communities/citizens and use SDG as a framework for poverty frame and align with 8FYP (2021-25) is critically important.
The speakers at the briefing said there is a need to create an integrated data base of potential recipients of government supports including social safety nets and to improve the quality of the public expenditures, involvement of stakeholders at different levels are required.
In FY 2020, before July 2020, total Tk77,278 crore (2.76% of GDP) stimulus was announced. In FY2021, till May 2021, the amount was roughly Tk47,715.50 crore (1.71% of GDP). To have greater fiscal multiplier effect, they said there is also a need to push resources to those having a high marginal propensity to consume (e.g., poorer households) and a high marginal propensity to invest (e.g., small entrepreneurs).
Substantive cash transfer to disadvantaged communities/citizens, liquidity flow to MSME, domestic market-oriented manufacturing diversification, post-harvest mechanization of agriculture, IT-platform based high value service provision etc are some strategic priorities for the FY2021-22 budget.