The Democratic Budget Movement (DBM), a rights campaigner, yesterday demanded the government come up with a framework for job creation in the upcoming budget for fiscal 2019-20.
“There should be a picture of the number of jobs, their types and the sectors in which the jobs will be created,” said Monower Mostafa, member of the executive committee of the DBM, while presenting a paper at a discussion on the budget.
The Bangladesh economy is private sector-led, with the private sector accounting for 96 percent of the employment in the country.
However, private sector investment has been stagnant at 22-23 percent of GDP in recent years.
“And it affects job creation,” said the paper.
DBM also called for increasing the allocation for health sector in the next budget. Healthcare expense coming out of people's wallets in Bangladesh is the highest in South Asia, he said.
Many people are forced to sell their properties to bear the expenses for treatment and they become poor in the process, Mostafa said citing estimates that 50 lakh people fall below the poverty line for the high healthcare expenditure.
“The budgetary allocation for the health sector has never exceeded one percent of GDP. As a result, out-of-pocket expenses for people on healthcare rise to 67 percent of the total.”
The high healthcare expenditure from out of pocket is also related to the increase in disparity in society, he said.
Budgetary plans are made without the participation of people.
“Democratisation of budget framing is needed to reflect the concerns and issues of people,” he added.
Public expenditure on health and education in Bangladesh is less than in Nepal, India and Vietnam, said Razequzzaman Ratan of the Socialist Party of Bangladesh.
Increased allocation for education and health will help in development of human capital and thus contribute to the economy.
Ratan also demanded establishment of hospitals in industrial zones.
A lot of people are becoming poor owing to the high cost of healthcare, said Rashid-E-Mahbub, former president of the Bangladesh Medical Association.
There is no regulatory mechanism for healthcare tariffs in the private sector, said Mahbub, also the chairman of the National Committee on Health Rights Movement.
Commoners pay a lot of taxes but they do not get adequate facilities from the government, said Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid. Kabir moderated the discussion that took place at the CIRDAP Auditorium in Dhaka.