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29 April, 2021 05:22:54 PM

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CPD for priority to health, social safety nets in next budget

BSS, Dhaka
CPD for priority to health, social safety nets in next budget

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) today made a set of recommendations for the national budget of next fiscal year (FY22, including strengthening the COVID-19 management to reduce the health risk amid the ongoing pandemic and strengthening the social safety net programmes.

The civil society think tank also demanded for fulfilling the requirements of the small entrepreneurs and extending support to the real farmers.

The CPD made the recommendations at a virtual budget discussion for the next fiscal year (FY22).

Moderated by CPD executive director Dr Fahmida Khatun, its senior research fellow Dr Towfiqul Islam Khan presented the recommendations in the event. CPD distinguished fellow Dr Mustafizur Rahman and research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem also spoke on the occasion.

In his presentation, Towfiqul said that the health risk and the risk of food security of the marginal people have increased in the wake of the 2nd wave of the pandemic.

Under the circumstances, he suggested for making necessary budgetary allocations and framing revenue strategies giving highest priority to four sectors.

These four sectors are COVID-19 health services, ensuring food security for overall marginal community including for those who became poor afresh, extending support to the real farmers to boost production alongside fulfilling demands of the small entrepreneurs and raising allocations in large projects which are involved in generating employments.

He said priority should be specified in the next budget considering the COVID-19 scenario after coming out of the traditional trend of formulating budget.

In line with this, the allocations should have to be made while the tax structure should also have to be framed in such way.

“The health sector should have to be considered as the highest priority sector. For this, there is a need to ensure COVID-19 management, especially to simplify availability of vaccines, ensuring sufficient supply of oxygen and installing ICU beds,” he said.

Towfiqul also suggested for ensuring efficient use of COVID-19 management funds as well as exempting duty on import of pandemic related medicines and other medical equipments.

Underscoring the need for bringing more people as much as possible under the vaccination programme, he recommended for exploring multiple sources of attaining the vaccines to meet the growing need.

Terming the cash support initiative of the government for the rural people as a ‘good initiative’, the CPD said there is a need to further expand its coverage and thus implement it with utmost efficiency since the number of fresh poor has increased.

About the revenue collection strategy for the next fiscal year (FY22), the CPD senior research fellow said that the revenue collection status in the first half (July-December) of the current fiscal year was good as it posted a growth of 8.6 percent.

Towfiqul proposed for making again the highest tax rate at individual level at 30 percent from the existing 27 percent adding that many countries of the world are realizing more taxes from the wealthy section of people during this pandemic situation. “We also need to adopt such policies, otherwise we won’t be able to face the impacts of COVID-19.”

He also recommended for suspending 15 percent supplementary duty and 1 percent surcharge on mobile internet services since the use of internet has increased manifold during this pandemic situation.

CPD distinguished fellow Dr Mustafizur Rahman recommended for submitting TIN certificates and TIN numbers for taking various licenses to stop tax evasion.

Like in the past, the CPD also proposed for scrapping the provision for whitening undisclosed money in the budget as well as withdrawing advance tax on import of food items and other essential items.

Noting that the country’s agriculture sector has helped immensely to face the impacts of COVID-19, CPD executive director Dr Fahmida Khatun suggested for extending the timeframe of repayment of loans of the stimulus packages by the farmers to three years alongside expanding the coverage of the stimulus packages.

Side by side, she also urged the government so that the real farmers could avail such loans.

Dr Fahmida laid emphasis on taking loans from the foreign sources instead of the domestic ones amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CPD research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem proposed for launching a special two-year social safety net programme for the marginal people of the country to ensure their food security and thus offset the shock of the pandemic.

HM

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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