Over the past two years I have been reviewing budgets. For the first time this year I came to realize why oppositions and the Leftists express almost the same reaction to budget every year. The reason is that our budget is so banal, so political and so immoral that, people commenting on the bujdget have have nothing new to say every year. There is only one feature of the budget. Increase the expenditure for loot and then impose the burden of that cost on people by increasing indirect tax upon them.
Before going to practical discussion on budget, I am now focussing on some general characteristics of budget of our country.
The Budget of Hirak Raja
The first feature of this budget is, it has fairy tales like quality immortalized by our leaders“ The property of Allah is taken away by He Himself”, “ Rana Plaza collapsed because of the thrush of opposition party”, There is no load shedding in Bangladesh for even a single second”. The quotation within the inverted commas are used here as metaphorical meaning.
There is no place of self-criticism in our whole budgeting process. Nothing is reflected in budgets including turmoil in the garments industries after Rana Plaza collapse, , decline of Investment due to the political unrest, Decline of remittance inflow along with other geo-political threats and devastation. But, the tone in budget is, always constant. Everything is going fine, everything is okay, the country is progressing like a rocket, everybody wears diamond ornaments and budget itself is like that of a domain of a diamond king. Each ruling party sounds like this when they speak about budget.There was No exception in BNP reign.
A series of lies
In bangladesh Nobody seems to be, ashamed of telling a lie. The continuity has been preserved in this e budget as well. In the past year, Government manipulated the data very randomly to show 6.2% growth. The economists showed, growth can not be achieved more than 5.7% in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Economists and development agencies said, 6.2% growth is all fake.
Within the last 38 years, from the Independence war in 1971 to the year 2009, our annual per capita income reached to 843 dollar.
But in the next two years, share market collapsed and the income of the middle class has been accumulated by a few people. Housing sector, collapse followed., which led to a declined in credit growth, we saw the start of a deflationary tendency which created pressure on the agro-production price to decrease leading the rural economy to contract. Still the government is showing USD 1190 per capita income for last two years increased only for the increase in remittance influx and the garments export. That means, even in the worst time of the country’s economy, per capita income increases (1190-843) or USD 347 or BDT 26,719.
That means, on an average, 4.2 earning persons per household in Bangladesh earned BDT 1,06,000 per household in last 4 years.
37 years after 1971, we have reached to USD 843 and officially it is documented that in only 4 years it again increased by 41%.
There are other blatant series of lies in this budget, in pages after pages !! Like, construction of 25,000 Km new roads or construction of 1,50,000 m bridges.
The people of our country do nout enjoy any state benefits like social security as the government does not give any social security to the people here whereas in many developed countries government have to spend a lot on social security, as a lot of money is spent on unemployment benefit, free healthcare, education and on other people related expense.
But nothing is free in our country. We need to pay for every single product and service . Still, the total annual production of 16 crore of people and expenditure based on which GDP is determined, 18.3% of it is government spending. That means, govt occupies a major part of our GDP. Ultimately almost no production is carried out by the government. So only spending is included in GDP which is again since, these are sold by or consumed by some people.
This characteristic of this government's is, they are increasing the spending every year. And people have to have bear that burden as this additona expense is imposed as tax on them.
What is even worse is the govt is taking heavy debt due to the increase of expense. since, government is not getting much foreign loan, most of the govt started borrowing is carried out from domestic sources. and, each year we are getting large deficit
Last year, Govt deficit was 5%, means, BDT 60,000. In the previous year, it was Tk 55,000 and in 2011, it was 52,000. That means, the deficit is in total 1,66,00,000,00. In this way, the government causes more than Tk 10,000 debt per person. And we are to bear this burden year after year.
Let's see how the government is increasing this spending in the budget each year:
Reader, you'll see, in last five years, the annual govt spending is increasing by TK25,000 crore every year. And in the last six-years, the government spending wasTk10 lac thousand crore. You need to think about how big a figure Tk 10 lac thousand crore is. And, in six-year, spending per person reached to Tk 64 thousand.
sometimes it is difficult to understand, the implication of data. so, lets put this into some context, how bit the 10 lac, thousand crore is. You can establish a college in this country with Tk 10 crore, can make a big hospital with Tk 100 crore, can construct a bridge like Padma Bridge with Tk 1,000 crore and can build 64 large universities in 64 districts with Tk 6,000 crore.
Now, readers, just imagine, what the government could do with this Tk 10 lac thousand crores, but it actually did. The govt has spent Tk10 lac, thousand crore in last 6 years.
You have to question, how did the govt spent Tk10 lac thousand crore in last 6 years,while it does not provide free treatment or social security, does not reconstruct the roads, wastes 4 years to get loan for Padma Bridge, put toll service on roads? Show us the roads. Show us the schools and colleges.
Before the last elections, they placed billboards where they showed how many schools, colleges they have built and how many roads, they constructed. If you add all the estimates they have shown, they will be summed up no more than Tk 50 thousands crores. We should ask, explain us how did you spent rest Tk 9 lacs and 50 thousands crore.
But never do we raise these questions. Every year, we sit to estimate how much money will we spend next year and media will do some lead news for 3to 4 days after the budget is announced.