On Tuesday, the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jatiya Party lawmakers in parliament called the draft budget for the financial year 2022-23 “unethical”.
They said so while participating in the general discussion on the draft budget.
“This budget is only good for corporations, the plastics industry and the tobacco company,” lawmaker JP Shameem Haider Patwari said in his speech.
Speaking strongly to Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, he said it was not a problem-solving budget at all, nor a people-oriented budget.
‘This budget will increase the pressure on middle class people. It was an unethical budget that gave the possibility of recovering the laundered money without a doubt,” he added.
“The budget has a huge deficit. It states that 98,000 crore of Tk will be collected from foreign sources. It is an impossible task. This will put pressure on banks and employment.
Lawmaker JP has proposed to raise the non-taxable income limit to Tk 5 lakh, increase the capacity of the NBR, increase the expatriate income incentive to 5%, provide expatriate pension and d place importance on creating a skilled workforce.
He strongly criticized Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen for his unprofessional attitude towards journalists.
BNP MP Zahidur Rahman said the budget was formulated to safely bring back smuggled money from money launderers.
“This budget aims to give a chance to a number of dishonest businessmen,” he added.
The proposal to give money launderers a chance to get their money back with a nominal fee is unethical, Zahidur said.
The BNP lawmaker added that giving the option to legalize laundered money was not economically, politically or morally justifiable.
He demanded that the money launderers be identified and their assets confiscated.
Calling the draft budget ambitious, the BNP lawmaker said it would not be possible to execute the budget.
“There is no effective strategy in the budget to reduce the prices of basic necessities,” he said.
Awami League lawmaker Saber Hossain Chowdhury said the budget had many positive aspects but the issue of air pollution did not find its way into the budget.
“We make laws here, but how much do people get out of it?” he asked a question.
Calling for action to control tobacco, Saber Hossain said 1.60 lakh people die prematurely every year in Bangladesh from tobacco as the price of cigarettes increases every year and taxes are levied on them.
But companies make more money without increasing production costs and as a result, the government loses 3,000 crore taka, he observed.
The lawmaker added that the Prime Minister had announced that Bangladesh would be tobacco free by 2040 but the way everything was going, the country would not be tobacco free even by 2080.
“We did not come to parliament to increase the profits of the tobacco company,” he said.
“We belong to the government party. We respect every government decision. I support that. But when such a situation arises, we have to make a choice,” added Saber.
‘So what are we going to do? Should we abstain from voting? We don’t want that. We want to fully support the finance minister’s budget proposal,” the lawmaker said.
AL lawmakers Abdus Sobhan, Aroma Dutta and Anwarul Abedin Khan, among others, highly praised the budget calling it pro-people and visionary.