ECONOMISTS and businesses on Saturday recommended formation of a number of commissions, including banking commission and public expenditure review commission, in the upcoming national budget for the fiscal year 2018-2019.
At a roundtable discussion on the national budget, they also said that the government should improve institutional capacity and efficiency of civil servants to ensure quality implementation of gradually increasing national budget.
Policy Research Institute and private satellite television channel Ekattor jointly arranged the discussion in a Dhaka hotel.
Centre for Policy Dialogue distinguished fellow Mustafizur Rahman said that the government should form a public expenditure review commission to ensure good value for money while implementing the annual development programme.
The progress rate of eight mega-projects having Tk 2.60 lakh crore allocation has remained either at an average or even below the national ADP implementation rate in the first eight months of the current fiscal, he said.
Institutional capacity, inter-ministerial coordination and efficiency of manpower did not rise in line with the incremental size of ADP over the years, he said, adding that people were not getting the value for money due to these problems of ADP implementation.
The proposed public expenditure review commission would come up with recommendations to improve the situation, he said.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry former president Asif Ibrahim said that the government should form the proposed banking commission in the next budget to address the problems of the banking sector.
The commission should be high-powered, under the supervision of the Prime Minister’s Office, he said.
He also proposed to establish a national infrastructure development monitoring advisory authority for expediting implementation of infrastructure projects.
He demanded a competitive pricing for imported liquefied natural gas to avoid sudden price shock on investors.
PRI chairman Zaidi Sattar sought reforms in the country’s tariff policy and said that the existing tariff policy was not good for growth, industrialisation, export diversification and even for consumers.
Consumers are forced to pay an additional 70 per cent to 100 per cent higher price for consumer products than the price in the international market, he said.
Former NBR chairman Muhammad Abdul Mazid emphasised on consistency and continuity of tariff policy for several years to facilitate investment.
Bangladesh Tariff Commission former chairman Md Mozibur Rahman recommended formation of a tax policy reform commission to find the appropriate tax burden for the country’s private sector.
Former finance secretary Siddiqur Rahman Choudhury recommended formation of civil service reforms commission to make it competent to implement the large budget.
Every year many promises of the government remain unfulfilled, he said.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh energy adviser M Shamsul Alam said that the government should provide gas and electricity at fair and rational price to the consumers.
He said that gas and electricity would not require any subsidy had the government addressed the issue of illogical expenditure of the companies.
Expenditure of the companies has been increasing without any valid reason and the consumers were ultimately bearing the burden, he added.
Former commerce secretary Sohel Ahmed Chowdhury, PRI vice-chairman Sadiq Ahmed, Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute chief executive officer Ali Ahmed, CAB president Ghulam Rahman, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies senior research fellow Nazneen Ahmed, among others, spoke at the programme.
PRI executive director Ahsan H Mansur presided over the discussion.
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