Md. Joynal Abdin
The Daily Independent on May 12, 2010
The Awami League led government is going to place its second budget in its current tenure. Last year, we saw the largest budget in our history. But the question is how much our standard of living has been raised. The people are passing through a difficult time due to energy crisis. There has been no improvement in electricity and gas supply. Law and order situation has not improved either.
Although there had been a steady flow of remittances from Bangladeshis working abroad, no effective government initiative has been made to expand the job market to sustain foreign exchange earnings from the source.
The foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bangladesh is one of the lowest in the world. This is because Bangladesh is yet to put in place required infrastructure to attract the FDI. The industries in the country are struggling to maintain production because of the energy crisis. They are facing upto 12 hours of electricity load shedding everyday. Traffic jam in Dhaka city is getting worse. One fourth of working hour is wasted on the streets due to the traffic jam. In such a condition how can Vision – 2021 be achieved?
The price hike of essentials during current regime has defeated all past record. General people are spending 80 per cent of their income on food and their savings are falling. Currently, prices of commodities are rising illogically in the market when they are falling at farmers’ level. If farmers do not get fair prices for their products they will be discouraged to grow crops. So, the new budget should outline proper price management mechanism for the sake of the farmers as well as the economy.
The budget is the most important development document of a country. Currently, our policy makers are working hard to finalise the next budget, which is likely to be placed in the parliament by the finance minister on June 10, 2010.
While preparing the budget the policy makers must take into consideration the water crisis, electricity and gas shortage. Special attention should be given to ensure water supply to every house in cities. Uninterrupted electricity supply is the prerequisite for industrial development. Without uninterrupted electricity supply the digital Bangladesh will remain a day dream. Under the circumstances, the government can consider compensating the factories harmed by load shedding because factories remain idle during the load shedding period. But labour wages, salaries and other utility bills have to be paid by the entrepreneurs. Specific budgetary measures have to be taken for increased FDI flow into Bangladesh.
Development projects to be taken up in next financial year should get highest priority for implementation. The government must also see its political agendas do not get preference over development agendas. Because, the people want to have better living and see the dream of digital Bangladesh come true.