In the upcoming budget, the scope to whiten undisclosed or black money is gaining momentum under the guise of reviving the Covid-19 affected economy, increasing revenue, creating employment and attracting investment.
Citing matters from mass media reports, the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) considers the proposed budgetary provision of legalising black money as unconstitutional, immoral and discriminatory, according to a press release issued on Tuesday.
Also, the anti-graft watchdog has urged the government to refrain from such self-contradictory steps.
At the same time, TIB demands that adequate allocations should be increased alongside the stakeholders' suggestions for real development of the health sector, which is plagued by inadequate funding and corruption.
The TIB also demands increased employment and social security for people below the poverty line.
Not just allocation increase, TIB wants an effective anti-corruption roadmap by ensuring transparency and accountability in all types of procurement, distribution, expenditure and distribution in these sectors, the press statement reads.
"The forthcoming budget will not only allow the legalising of black money, news has been published that it is also omitting the provision of the Anti-Corruption Commission to inquire about the sources of the money. And this is not expected at all," said Dr Iftekhruzzaman, executive director of TIB, at the press statement.
After the prime minister's declaration of zero tolerance of corruption, legalising wealth earned through corruption is self-contradictory. It also encourages corruption, he added.
"Whitening of black money proposed in the national budget is against the spirit of article 20(2) of the constitution. So, I urge the government to come back from the step," said the TIB executive director.
He also demanded that the government should bring back the laundered money which was exposed in recent media reports.
Recently, it was discovered that some people and groups have been laundering money in other countries. The government should take measures to ensure accountability of those people instead of patronising them, he added.
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the poor condition of the health sector of the country. The government hospitals are struggling to provide necessary healthcare. Many media outlets have even reported that people died without getting proper medical treatment, said Iftekharuzzaman.
The health sector was not made poor overnight, he said.
"Inadequate funding in the health sector for years, a lack of coherence in spending, and rampant corruption in the sector have led to such catastrophes," said Iftekharuzzaman.
The TIB executive director expects that the government should have a specific roadmap that may include announcement of universal healthcare and effective example of eradicating corruption in the procurement process in the health sector.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has made many people unemployed in both the formal and the informal sectors.
"It is necessary to take effective measures to control the vested group that is embezzling the benefits meant for affected people. And the declaration should come in the upcoming budget.
In this case, in line with allocation increase, we need to build a central database of all the beneficiaries eligible for inclusion in the social security programme.
And the database should be regularly updated and published through websites and other easily accessible modes, said the TIB top executive.