Proposed budget to fuel further price hike
The proposed budget for the next fiscal year contains some provisions that will fuel further price hike of essential commodities, said economists and politicians at a post-budget citizen dialogue yesterday.
Terming the proposed budget unrealistic and anti-people, they also said the price of fertiliser almost doubled just three days after the proposed budget was announced.
People's Forum on MDG (PFM) organised the dialogue on Proposed Budget for 2008-2009: MDGs & Reality of Poverty Eradication at Cirdap auditorium in the capital.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, president of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA), said cost of production would rise further, as the government did not allocate sufficient fund or additional subsidy for power, fertiliser and oil that are related to prices of essentials.
“Probably, the prices of essential commodities will not come down. People will have to buy essentials with more prices. The price of fertiliser has already doubled,” he said while addressing the dialogue.
Awami League (AL) leader Abdur Razzaque said the prices of essentials, especially rice, depend on the prices of power, fertiliser and fuel. But the government proposed the budget, indicating hike in prices of power, fertiliser and fuel, he said.
“Unproductive sectors like defence got priority in the proposed budget. The prices of essentials cannot be reduced without increasing their production. The agriculture production will not go up amid the existing high production cost,” he said.
AL leader Nurul Islam Nahid came down heavily on the caretaker government for not giving proper priority to education sector, and said the target of millennium development goal (MDG) will not be met due to less allocation to education sector.
Karmajibi Nari President Shirin Akhter said the proposed budget will mainly depend on revenue and foreign fund that are very much uncertain. “I think the government will have to borrow a huge amount from banks,” she added.
Shishir Shil, executive director of PFM, moderated the dialogue, which was also participated by representatives of different non-government organisations and civil society members.