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Bangladesh - 4 days ago

Budget means increase of prices of necessary goods

Amin Al Rashid: Every year at the beginning of June, when the budget for the next financial year is presented in the National Parliament, a very common question is raised in the mind of the public, which is the price of which things will increase?
After the independence of Bangladesh, the first national budget presented in 1972 was Tk 719 crore. After 52 years, the size of that budget is aboutTk 8 lakh crore. It is absolutely a number to a common man but it is important to him is the impact of the budget on his life?
Analyzing the first national budget announced by the new government’s Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmud Ali after the 12th National Assembly elections, it is said in the media that the price of fridges or refrigerators produced in the country will increase.
Incidentally, 90 percent of the fridges or refrigerators sold in the country are manufactured here. 7.5 percent VAT has also been imposed on ACs manufactured in the country.
As a result, the price of AC will be also increased. When people sweltered in the scorching heat of the Remembrance Day last April, AC sales soared. Many low-income people have also installed AC at home for a little peace of mind. On the one hand, millions of trees have been cut down in unplanned development, urbanization and industrialization; Environment and wildlife have been destroyed by filling rivers-canals-ponds-reservoirs, while hot air coming out of millions of ACs is heating the environment even more. In such a situation, if it is decided to increase the price of AC to discourage citizens from using AC, then the question must be asked that how serious is the state to protect the environment and control the temperature of the country?
So far, specialized hospitals have been given the opportunity to import medical devices and equipment with special duty exemption, but in this year’s budget, 10 percent duty has been imposed on the import of more than 200 medical devices and equipment. As a result, private hospitals can increase the price of medical services.
The medical expenses of the private hospitals, which are built on the basis of excessive pressure of the patients in the government hospitals and various irregularities and mismanagement, are beyond the reach of a large number of people of the state. Still, they are forced to go to these hospitals. But there is reason to worry about the extent to which private hospitals will increase medical expenses due to the imposition of a 10 percent duty on equipment imports.
Tourism and entertainment are a huge source of income for any country. In this year’s budget, VAT is being doubled (15 percent) on entertainment centers and amusement parks and theme parks. As a result, travel and entertainment costs will increase. It is better if this extra money is deposited in the government treasury. However, how much the traders increase the price of these services on the pretext of doubling the VAT is also a matter of concern.
Although Bangladesh is an undeniably beautiful country, one of the reasons why tourism is not developed at the desired level is the excessive cost. The rent of hotels, motels and resorts in Cox’s Bazar beach and Gazipur or other areas around Dhaka is much higher than in neighboring countries India and Nepal. So, if the budget this year increases the spending on tourism and entertainment, it will hurt the sector as a whole.
According to this year’s budget, if you want to rent the community center and auditorium for various social events including weddings, birthdays, hlud occasion, circumcision, as well as meetings, seminars, reunions, you will have to submit the annual income tax return deposit receipt. There are questions as to whether this decision will adversely affect the business of the community center. Because the majority of those who rent community centers for various purposes do not pay tax. Therefore, they can’t give the return receipt.
As a result, they will be able to submit a tax return if they go to rent the community center – rent the hall through someone. Or community center rents will decrease. People will perform at alternative places. In that case it will have a negative impact on the business of the community center.
This time the most discussed is the cost of talking on mobile phones and the call rate. It is said that if you want to talk about Tk 100, you have to recharge Tk 139. Mobile phones and internet are now considered everyday products all over the world. This mobile phone has played the biggest role in ‘Digital Bangladesh’ which is not a joke anymore. Even marginalized people of the society now use mobile phones for communication. So, it is not right to impose so much tax on people’s speech.
Every year’s budget also indicates a reduction in the prices of some products. For example, this time 20 percent supplementary duty has been lifted on packaged powdered milk up to 2.5 kg. As a result, the price of milk powder may decrease. But whether it will decrease or not, that is a big question. Because the past experience says that after the presentation of the budget, the prices of the products which are supposed to increase, increase immediately, but the prices of which are supposed to decrease, they do not decrease. A very common claim by sellers is that they are pre-purchased.
In the past budgets, duty-tax exemptions have been given on various materials for dialysis services for kidney patients. But the service price has not decreased. This time too it has been proposed to reduce the duty of filters used in dialysis services. But in the end, there is a question whether kidney patients will get its benefits or not.
Therefore, the budget should not be stuck in the number of Tk 8 crores or Tk 8 lakh crores; Rather, the budget has a positive impact on the standard of living of ordinary people; It is important to strengthen the monitoring system for the implementation of the budget.
Budget means increase in price of goods – this ingrained perception of common people needs to be changed. For that, corruption should be curbed in the development projects of the state and in all other areas. It does not impose new duties on goods that have a direct impact on public life; On the other hand, there will be no negative impact on the national income even if the tariff is reduced. But the question remains, as it was 50 years ago, as to how well the political will to stop corruption and the good governance, transparency and accountability required at all levels of the state can be ensured.

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