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ED: But let the target be realistic

  • Published at 10:06 pm June 6th, 2020
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It is imperative that we set more realistic targets in the budget

There is no doubt that this year’s proposed budget -- for the 2020-2021 fiscal year -- will be unlike any other that we have had.

Economies across the world have taken a battering due to the online Covid-19 pandemic, with experts across sectors expressing concern over imminent economic slowdowns.

To that end, it is surprising to hear that, as per the draft document of the new budget, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is set to announce a Tk3,30,000 crore tax-revenue target for the next fiscal year, starting July 1.

With businesses and people alike ravaged due to the pandemic, there is a legitimate concern that the proposed amount of tax-revenue earning -- which is set to be about 50% higher than the total revenue to be generated in this fiscal year that is ending this month -- is not realistic, and will cause a tremen-dous amount of strain on all parties involved.

Indeed, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) -- responsible for generating around 85% of the government’s tax-revenue income -- have called for a reevaluation of the numbers, with economists also stating that at a time when spending has taken a significant hit, along with proposed investment plans and business growth.

The current fiscal year is set to experience at least a Tk1,00,000 crore shortfall in revenue earned, and while there is certainly a myriad of reasons for this shortfall -- chief among which remain our ineffcient revenue generation and administration -- the sheer magnitude of the shortfall indicates that we have a lot of work to do.

Indeed, the whole point of having a national budget must be to pro-pose realistic numbers which can be attainable, so that we do not end up with such massive shortfalls at the end of the fiscal year.

Therefore, with the forecasted shortfall for the next fiscal year already predicted to be higher than the current year’s by experts, it is imperative that we set more realistic targets in the budget.