Former Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman today said that money is not now the main concern for the government, rather the main concern is to bring country's people under vaccination programme.
"We should worry less about growth rate, deficit finance etc. and but to prioritize how to vaccinate 60 to 70 percent of the population as soon as possible. People will be relieved once vaccinated, and business confidence will also enjoy a boost. This in turn will ensure success of our campaign of economic and social recovery," said Professor Dr. Atiur Rahman.
He said these while presenting the keynote paper at a post-budget reaction session (online) organized today by non-government think tank Unnayan Shamannay.
Emeritus Fellows of the organization- economist Dr A K Enamul Haque and Sociologist Khondoker Shakhawat Ali were present as panel discussants, said a press release.
Dr Atiur identified the industry and business-friendly tax proposals to be the strongest part of the proposed budget. He said that considering the pandemic-induced economic slowdown, the revenue collection target for National Board of Revenue (NBR) has been revised downwards for the ongoing fiscal year, and for the coming fiscal year it remains equal to the proposed target for the ongoing fiscal year.
He opined that attaining the Taka 3.3 trillion target will be very challenging for NBR and they must show utmost efficiency to be successful.
Dr A K Enamul Haque pointed out that conventionally the social safety nets are targeting those living below the poverty line. Considering the current situation safety nets are required for those living just above the said line. Universal Pension Scheme could be a good way to do so.
Khondoker Shakhawat Ali advised that the budget proposal, along with setting the target of vaccinating 70-80 percent of the population, should also present a clear timeframe to attain that target.
According to him, the government should aim to attain this target within the coming fiscal year. To do so, government should initially prioritize importing vaccines and then move to producing those. For that diplomacy needs to be further bolstered, Shakhawat opined.
In the question-answer session moderated by Unnayan Shamannay's Director Research Abdullah Nadvi, the panelists responded to queries from the media professionals.
In response to one such query, the panelists said that increased allocations will not bring desired change unless the health expenditure structure is reshaped.
They inferred that launching health voucher scheme could be a good way to provide support to those seeking service at private healthcare facilities.