The overall implementation of the Bangladesh national budget in the outgoing financial year became once again sluggish because of lingering discrepancy between projected indicators and their completion status.
Experts said that poor revenue mobilisation against the unrealistic projection and slow progress of the development projects continued to hinder the implementation of the budgetary measures in 2017-18.
According to the draft of the revised budget, overall revenue shortfall would be Tk 28,536 crore and the revised target of the National Board of Revenue would be decreased by Tk 23,190 crore to Tk 2,25,000 crore from originally projected Tk 2,48,190 crore.
National Board of Revenue chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, however, insisted that that the revenue collection target might be reduced by Tk 25,000cr-30,000cr as the original target was ‘too high’.
The tax officials were given about 40 per cent higher target than the collection of 2016-17 that was, according to the experts, highly ambitious.
Centre for Policy Dialogue distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattracharya said that a large shortfall in revenue collection became a certainty for the sixth consecutive year because of unrealistic fiscal framework targets.
The government has already slashed the expenditure in the annual development projects by Tk 4,950 crore from the original allocation of Tk 1,53,331 crore.
Planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the expenditure in annual development programme was
revised because of slower progress in the implementation of foreign-funded development projects.
In March, the executive committee of the national economic council headed by prime minister Sheikh Hasina endorsed the revised the size of the ADP sanding at Tk 1,48,381 crore.
Incomes from export and remittance were positive but they were trailing behind the annual targets in the first 10 months of the financial year while import payment soared to put the country’s balance of payment on pressure, officials said.
They said that the high growth of import payment was also set to decrease the budgetary projection of foreign currency build up, $36.8 billion, by more than $3 billion.
Bangladesh Bank officials said that the revised projection of the foreign currency reserve would stand at $33.5 billion at the end of the fiscal in June.
The mismatch between the budgetary projection and their implementation status is forcing the finance division to revise the overall size of the budget by about Tk 29,000 crore to Tk 3,71,495 crore from the original projection of Tk 4,00,266 crore.
This would be the highest cut in size of budget in recent years as the budget was slashed by Tk 23,000 crore in 2016-17, Tk 26,000 crore in 2015-16 and Tk 21,000 crore in 2014-15.
Former interim government adviser Mirza Azizul Islam said that the government even failed to achieve the revised target of many components of the budget.
The implementation of revised budget fell below 75 per cent in 2016 from 93 per cent in 2011 and 2012, he noted.
Despite the mismatch between the budgetary projection and their implementation status, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics projected growth in gross domestic product at 7.65 per cent, 0.25 percentage points higher than budgetary projection of 7.4 per cent.
The general inflation in the first 10 months of the fiscal was hovering around 5.83 per cent, slightly higher than the annual target of 5.5 per cent projected by finance minister Muhith in his budget speech in June 2017.
AHM Mustafa Kamal said that inflation would hopefully drop further in the last two months of the financial year and would be within the target set in the budget.
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