The government has not announced any initiative to promote business activities to retain jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic, experts and stakeholders say
Some lofty goals including a high revenue collection and gross domestic product (GDP) growth have been targeted in the proposed budget.
These targets can be achieved if the USA gets over its economic depression, the Middle Eastern countries take back Bangladeshi workers, and European countries start importing garments from here.
Another precondition is people will not lose job and have pay cut here at home and investment from the private sector will rise to 25.3 percent of GDP.
But none these have any touch with reality.
Businesspeople and professionals have said this at the online post-budget review discussion "Observation of IBFB on National Budget 2020-21"
The International Business Forum of Bangladesh, a research-based business forum, organised the discussion yesterday.
The forum has been working to attract foreign investment to Bangladesh for 14 years.
Terming the proposed budget as an "unexceptional budget in an exceptional time," Humayun Rashid, president of the IBFB and also managing director and CEO of Energypac Power Generation Ltd, said: "Each goal in the budget is opposite to one another if we compare them."
"New job creation, employment and investment in the private sector are the major potential solutions to the current economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But there is no indications and initiatives about that."
Regarding value added tax (VAT) imposition on motorcycle, Humayun Rashid said that it will hit employment hard as most of the riders are self-employed.
"VAT on a motorcycle should be exempted for another year especially in the context of Covid-19 outbreak."
At the same time, the government's claim of 8 percent GDP growth and a big jump in private investment will give a negative impression to the international arena while getting fund to fight Covid-19, Humayun Rashid said.
"Tax on minimum personal income, however, will ease the pressure on low-income people."
Hafizur Rahman Khan, former president of the IBFB and also chairman of Runner Group of Companies, said that the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021 is a usual one.
"There are no initiatives to expedite investment in the private sector."
Regarding job creation and employment, former chairman of the revenue board Dr Muhammad Abdul Mazid said that there is no alternative to job creation to get relief from this financial collapse.
"Relief and aid is not the solution to stabilise the situation. The government has to ensure work for all."
Around 84 percent of people are engaged in the informal sector but no initiatives were proposed for them in the budget, Abdul Mazid said.
"Small investors and entrepreneurs are also important to revive the economy. But there is no plan for them in the proposed budget."
Regarding black money whitening, the discussants said that despite its strict policy on corruption and good governance, the government kept scope for black money whitening.
"This is not acceptable. The move will disappoint the regular taxpayers," they said.
Meanwhile, they suggested that the government set a time limit for whitening black money and take strict initiatives for recovering black money.
Mahmudul Islam Chowdhury, founding president of the IBFB and also chairman of Khan Bahadur Group; MS Siddiqui, legal economist and CEO of Bangla Chemical; Dr Md Mozibur Rahman, former secretary to the government and also managing director of Runner Oil and Gas Ltd; Dr Md Ali Afzal, managing director of Krishibid Group and M Shoeb Chowdhury and also CEO of HSTC Limited, were also present at the conference.