This year's budget must focus on ensuring survival through strengthening the health, medical and social security sectors, experts said at an online pre-budget discussion organised by the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) on Friday.
Dr Atiur Rahman, former governor of the Bangladesh Bank, labelled audit process as the foremost task for ensuring the quality of expenditure in every sector.
The economist also underscored the importance of making the health and medical sector more structured and capable than ever, and suggested maximum priority for that in the upcoming budget.
He mentioned social protection as another significant area in terms of allocation, and ensuring a proper database for effectiveness.
The former central bank governor referred to this budget as a survival budget in the current tough situation. He expressed hope about recovering economic losses in the near future only after surviving this year.
Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, former chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), suggested cutting down unnecessary costs in various sectors. He also suggested fiscal incentives for struggling business sectors.
Distinguished Fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Professor Dr Mustafizur Rahman said this years' budget must be totally different, and things must be calculated based on the grounds of health, humanitarian and economic crises.
ICMAB Vice-President Md Mamunur Rashid presented 13 core proposals for the upcoming national budget that include adding cost statements accompanied by quantitative analysis statements by cost and management accountants with companies' tax returns, increasing the minimum range of tax-free income from Tk2.5 lakh to at least Tk4 lakh, clarification to ensure five percent tax on non-residents' capital gain from listed company shares, 30 percent tax imposition on project bills or salaries paid abroad, reduction of corporate tax for listed companies by five percentage points, and some special incentives for pandemic-hit industries and the transportation sector.
The institute's President Md Jasim Uddin Akond offered a greater role of the country's cost and management accountants in the process of the state's revenue collection.
Dr Mahmood Osman Imam, finance professor at the University of Dhaka, referred to the unemployment crisis due to the pandemic and suggested priority for that in the next budget.
Citing examples of other countries, NBR Member Ranjan Kumar Bhowmik suggested lowering minimum income tax rate to five percent from 10 percent with a view to widening the tax net.
Dhaka University economics Professor Dr Muhammad Shahadat Hossain Siddiquee, and ICMAB fellow and LankaBangla Finance Ltd's Head of Operations AKM Quamruzzaman also joined the webinar discussion.