FY2021-22 budget did not recognised the implementation challenges : CPD’s analysis

 

Dhaka 12 June 2021:

The budget did not seem to recognise the implementation challenges and hence does not spell out ways to overcome those challenges.

Nothing has been mentioned regarding capacity development, stronger monitoring and evaluation, results based framework etc. towards better implementation of budgetary proposals.

Such observations came from a dialogue titled ‘Analysis of the National Budget FY2021-22’ organized by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) held on Saturday in the city.

According to CPD’s analysis, the budget did not seem to recognise the implementation challenges and hence does not spell out ways to overcome those challenges.

Nothing has been mentioned regarding capacity development, stronger monitoring and evaluation, results based framework etc. towards better implementation of budgetary proposals.

The budget document refers to management of the COVID situation throughout which was not the case during the first COVID budget (FY21).

However, the document does not have much to offer in terms of concrete measures and innovative policies to combat COVID[1]induced challenges.

In the budget speech it was mentioned that health, agriculture and employment generation have been given priority while allocating resources for annual development programme (ADP).

But, actual allocation did not reflect this as these promises and had not been supported by adequate resources.

The macroeconomic framework of the budget was far from reality. It takes the revised budget targets, which are unlikely to be achieved, as reference points and assumes that most of the macroeconomic correlates would perform better than the targets set in 8FYP.

Though there is a section on reforms in the budget document, it only refers to what have been done so far. It did not spell out what concrete reforms would be undertaken to improve the efficiency in the economy.

The unfinished reform agenda in many areas such as tax, customs duty, banking sector, health sector and social sector has constrained the achievement of budgetary targets and its ability to cope with adverse impacts of the pandemic.

Given the magnitude of negative impact on various sectors due to COVID-19, CPD had emphasised on the need for medium term strategy for economic recovery.

The budget for FY22 had no indication on this. This puts under risk the fulfillment of the promise made in the 50th budget to move towards a resilient future by giving priority to lives and livelihoods.

M A Mannan, MP, Minister for Planning, Government of Bangladesh was Chief Guest at the dialogue.  Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, Honorary President, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Mr Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, Former Minister for Commerce attend the programme as Guests of Honour.

Dr Ahsan Habib Mansur, Executive Director, Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh; Dr Salehuddin Ahmed, Former Governor, Bangladesh Bank; Mr Md. Jashim Uddin, President, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI); Barrister Nihad Kabir, President, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and Mr Mirza Nurul Ghani Shovon, President, Central Executive Committee, National Association of Small and Cottage Industries of Bangladesh (NASCIB) were Distinguished Discussants at the dialogue.

Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chairman, CPD Chaired the session, while Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow, CPD moderated the session.

Dr Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director, CPD made the keynote presentation at the dialogue.

The webinar included a review of the recent trends of Bangladesh economy in the context of COVID-19 and an analysis of various measures proposed in the budget for FY2021-22.

Lead contributions for preparing analysis of the National Budget for FY2021-22 were provided by Dr Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director; Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow; Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, Research Director; and Mr Towfiqul Islam Khan, Senior Research Fellow, CPD and Towfiqul Islam Khan was the Coordinator of the CPD IRBD 2021 Team..

The climate relevant allocation as a share of total budget of 25 Ministries/Divisions had declined in the new budget.

According to the report, notable steps to tackle climate change and protect the environment were taken in the national budget.

To determine the air quality index, 16 round-the-clock air monitoring centers are being set up in Dhaka and other cities of the country.

To reduce noise pollution, the Bangladesh Secretariat area has been declared as horn-free zone.

The project – “My Village-My Town” has already been approved, and 15 villages have been selected as pilots. This project will ensure a road system free from the negative effects of climate change. Ø A total of 37,254 climate refugee families have so far been rehabilitated across the country under the Guchchhgram-II project. In FY 2021-2022, a target of rehabilitating another 1,000 landless poor families had been set.

As part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) obligation to create and update national greenhouse gas inventories to address the adverse effects of climate change, implementation of the project titled ‘Bangladesh: First Biennial Update Report to the UNFCCC’ was underway.

The approval process for the ‘Adaptation Initiative for Climate Vulnerable Offshore Small Islands and Riverine Char Lands in Bangladesh’ project to take adaptive action on small islands and offshore islands along climate vulnerable areas was in progress.

The government is going to implement the ‘Developing Bangladesh National Red List of Plants and Developing Invasive Plant Species Management Strategy for Selected Areas’ project, to create a Red List Index of 1,000 plant species in the country and prepare a management strategy for controlling alien invasive plant species in 5 selected areas.

To expand the country’s Green Economy, a fund of million US$ refinancing scheme called Green Transformation Fund (GTF) has been set up to ensure sustainable development of export-oriented textile and leather industries. Recently, an amount of 200 million Euro has been allocated to the fund.

The budget for FY2021-22 was placed by the Finance Minister at the National Parliament on 3 June 2021. In this backdrop, we do hope that the dialogue will be an opportunity for the civil society representatives and important stakeholder groups to exchange views on various proposals of the budget.

High-level policy makers, political leaders, academics, development practitioners, business leaders, civil society activists, international development partners and journalists also took part in the dialogue.