Budget discussion

index_photoDhaka, 12th June 2013. Today nine rights based civil society networks in a press conference at national press club has criticize government for little integration of climate change adaptation planning in national budget 2013-14. They urged appropriate integration of climate adaptation is necessary for the survival of the country, which could be done through a formation of national climate commission.
The press conference title “Budget 2013-14 does not comply with climate adaptation” was jointly organized by Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan (BAPA), Climate Change Development Forum (CCDF), Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL), Coastal Development Partnership (CDF), Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD), and Network on Climate Change Bangladesh (NCCB), VOICE, PRAN and HumanityWatch. The press conference was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD. Other speakers are, Mostafa Kamal Akanda and Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD, Farzana Akhter of VOICE, Mizanur Rahman Bijoy of NCCB, and Atiqur Rahman Tipu of CDP.
On behalf of the group a written statement has been read out by Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD. He mentioned that the two most trust sector in climate adaptation, is agriculture and health, where budget has been reduced compare to last year, e.g., in agriculture it is 20 % less from last year and in respect of health it is 4.2 of total budget, which was 5 % in last year. He termed the government’s BCCSAP (Bangladesh Climate Change Strategic Action Plan) is mere a stand alone document, which hardly have any integration to national 6th five year planning. As a responsible ministry the Ministry of Forest and Environment hardly have any influence on other ministries. He cited a UNDP study that 88.6 % in last three years government allocation which has been termed as allocation toward climate planning, in fact either has insignificance relevance or very ambiguous relevance.
Farzana Akther of VOICE has mentioned, women will be the worse victim of climate change impact, where health aspects is the fundamental, so allocation in health sector taking priority on women issue should have priority. Mizanur Rahman Bijoy of NCCB, demand review of BCCTF (Bangldesh Climate Change Trust Fund) act, as there are allegation of corruption and mis coordination on the fund management. Atiqur Rahman Tipu of CDP mentioned that a single ministry can not act to pursue or coordination among other ministries, so in fact BCCSAP and BCTF hardly been effective, he cited example and urged that the nation need a supra body in this regard, i.e., a national climate commission as like as which has happened in Philippines.

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Index_photo2Today in a press conference held at the national press club civil society climate networks and organizations demand to integrate the climate adaptation strategy in the forthcoming National Plan and Budget. They also demand a review on the performance of two climate funds and raise question on allocation and effectiveness of BCCSAP (Bangladesh climate change strategic action plan) and on the supremacy of the Ministry of Forest and Environment on it.
Mr. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD moderates the press conference while Mr. Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD presents the keynote paper before the journalists. Mr. Mizanur Rahman Bijoy of NCCB, Mr. Tapash Chakraborty of CSRL and Mr. Mainuddin Mahin of BKF were the other speakers. Mr, Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD addresses the welcome speech in the press conference today.
These civil society rights groups comprise of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL) led by Oxfam, Climate Finance Governance Network (CFGN) led by TIB, Climate Change Development Forum (CCDF) led by BCAS, Bangladesh Indigenous People Network on Climate Change and Bio Diversity (BIPNetCCBD), Equity and Justice Working Group (EquityBD), Network on Climate Change in Bangladesh (NCCB), Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), Bangladesh Krishok Federation (BKF), Online knowledge Society (OKS), PRAN, VOICE, Nature Campaign Bangladesh, and Humanity Watch.
In the keynote paper Sayed Aminul Haque points out, in view of a UNDP report, allocation for climate in the national budget is reduced down to 5.2% from 7% in last three years where a number of projects have been included. 28 out of 57 ministries and departments have only 1 or 2 climate projects each where inconsistently 9 of them have up to 102 projects. 18 of the ministries and departments have no projects at all. But the fact is, to build up a long term climate adaptation capacity in Bangladesh every ministry and department should have at least some projects to duly address.
Syed Aminul Haque adds, according the same report, the government has implemented 1,316 projects in the last three years out of which only 3.2% had strong relevance with climate adaptation while 8.6% had significance relevance but in rest 87.6% had little or somewhat relevance. This is quite conflicting with the long term goal of the government for mitigating the climate change.
Mizanur Rahman Biojy mentions that, out of 107 projects from climate trust fund, highest 26 projects has been allocated for Chittagong and 22 for Dhaka. But for the most climate impacted Khulna region only 9 projects have been disbursed. He also demands for Green Tax in the next budget from the rich who are somehow responsible for climate impact.
Tapash Chakraborty of CSRL raised question on the government response toward climate adaptation and integration for being much more rhetoric instead of being in real action. He also demands to prepare the national budget through parliamentary process where demand should be identified by the climate affected people through their elected representatives and discuss in the parliament to be finalized.

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Index_photosSpeakers urge political leaders for strong commitment to stop all source of black money today in a seminar organized by EquityBD, a network of right-based organizations in Bangladesh. They have also commented that confrontational politics is mainly responsible for capital flight, as it increases the sense of insecurity in the country. The current yearly capital flight is around $1.8b, which is much greater than the total annual foreign aid and loan of $1.2b.
The seminar titled “Political economy of black money: Undisclosed economy, National budget and Internal resource mobilization” held at the VIP Lounge of the National Press Club today is moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD. Keynote presentation is presented by Ahsanul Karim of EquityBD. Other speakers of the seminar are Dr. MA Mannan, Member of Parliament (MP), Professor Abu Ahmed of Dhaka University, Dr Mahbub E Rashid, Member of University Grant Commission, Khawza Main Uddin, President of Economic Reporters Forum, Asgar Ali Sabri of Action Aid, Zakir Hossain Khan of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), Mahbubul Alam of WBB Trust and Prodip Kumar Roy of Online Knowledge Society.
During the keynote presentation Ahsanul Karim says that in South Asia, Bangladesh has the highest percent of black money of around 38% while in India it is around 23%. Bangladesh can follow Indian examples in taking different internal and external measures to control the black money and increase direct tax ratio in revenue mobilization.
Professor Abu Ahmed says that, in view of the election manifesto present party in power, Prime Minister and other Members of Parliament must declare their wealth statement. He also urges that present parliament must pass the long awaited Financial Reporting Act which is fundamental to develop reliable audit reporting. He also mentions that confrontational politics is basically responsible for creating insecured social situation, in fact, which is causing the capital flight. He also demands that multinational companies (MNC) must be transparent in disclosing how much of the profit they are repatriating.
Zakir Hossain Khan of TIB raises question on the role of Anti Corruption Commission and National Board of Revenue, which is not proactive and dubious. He also says unless the political leaders are sincere the country hardly be able to achieve tax GDP ratio 15% by 2015.
Khawaza Main Uddin of Economic Reporters Forum urges that in next budget there should not be any scope of whitening black money. he says that there are disparity of tax percentage for sincere tax payers and black money makers. He also urges that official election expenditure for the Member of Parliament should be nhanced and there should state exchequer support in this regard.
Asgar Ali Sabri of Action Aid says that country should take imitative to do agreement with different countries on inter-country tax information sharing and transparency.
Dr. MA Mannan, the Member of Parliament said that election expenditure limit should be practical and officially enhanced with source disclosures, so that the MPs should not start with a false statement.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the moderator of the seminar urges that country’s politicians must shun the politics of confrontation, which is the biggest cause of capital flight and biggest patron of black money holders.

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Dhaka, 27th June 2012. Today twenty civil society rights group networks and organizations in a rally and human chain organized in front of national press club, Dhaka has expressed worried on continuous expanding nature of revenue i.e., administrative expenditures, they mentioned that there are lessons in whole world even in India how they are taken steps to maintain austerity, but our government approach is lukewarm in this regard. They also demand to the government and the Finance Minister to reconsider to withdraw the new proposed VAT expansion in upcoming national budget for the FY 2012-13, as those will be a cause of further hardship for poor, low and middle income people.

The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD; other speakers of the rally were Prodip K Roy of Online Knowledge Society, Subal Sarkar of Bhumihin Somity, Mohiuddin Hawlader of Bangladesh Krishok Federation (BKF), Syed Aminul Hoque of EquityBD and Mahabub Hossain of Coastal Development Partnership (CDP). Apart from above mentioned organizations and networks other participating organizations are Development Centre Initiatives, Eventful Bangladesh Society, Manush Manusher Jonny, Media Foundation for Trade and Development, Prodip, SDO, Sirac Bangladesh, UP Trust, Surrakha Foundation, United People’s Trust and VOICE.

In the position paper the group mentioned that , government has planned to impose VAT in all sort of business activities like domestic production, import goods, all sort of food grain, essential services especially government health and education services also has included under VAT net and also planned to impose VAT in all sort of small business in retail level production sale. This strategy of revenue collection would be a cause of hardship of our poor and lower middle income people those are the major part of population as their income has not been increased in expected level in last few years. They criticized government has failed to control the inflation in last fiscal three years which was a great pain and undermining the purchase capacity of people. In this context they demand the government to withdrawal VAT expansion plan and emphasis to collect revenue based on the direct tax i.e., which could be from property tax, income tax from the higher level income population, and taxes from corporations.

Syed Aminul of EquityBD has said that government has taken easy option for collecting tax and revenue and imposed new tax and surcharge on mobile call, interest on savings and pro poor services, for retaining subsidies for energy sector. In fact these subsidies will benefit the rental owners and not will benefit the poor, rather create additional burden for them. He cited examples that while in Bangladesh indirect tax like VAT contribute about 70 % and direct tax contribution is about 25 %, whereas in developed countries especially in Europe and America contribution of direct tax all most 70 %.

Mahbub Hossain of CDP criticized the government for projection of only 25% revenue collection from direct tax in 2012-13 fiscal years. He said that this is our shame to fail the expected level of revenue collection from direct tax according to our GDP and the volume of service sector.

Mohiuddin Hawlader of BKF said that, government budgetary plan is contradictory with vision 2021 and poverty reduction as because the inflation and proposed new additional VAT will play duel factor to increase poverty in our country. Government has imposed additional VAT following IMF advice and where government owns self failed to control inflation.

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Dhaka, 14th June 2012. Today Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD) and Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL) the two network of right based civil society organizations, has organized a seminar title “Is Bangladesh Prepared for Future Climate Change Problems, National Budget 2012-13 and Climate Change Adaptation” held at National Press Club. Speakers in the seminar criticized the government for making the national climate plan as a stand alone document and as a mere responsibility of single ministry, they urged that as climate change issue is crucial for Bangladesh future, then climate adaptation issue should be treated as priority and it should be integrated by all ministries especially in the national budget” .

The seminar was moderated Rezaul Karim Chowdhury Chief Moderator EquityBD; key note presentation given by Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD ;other speakers of the seminar were, Israfil Alam MP and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Labor and Employment; Soharab Ali Sana MP, Member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment and Forest; Saheen Monwara Haque MP and Ex state Minister KM Jahangir; Ziaul Haque Mukta, Asia Regional Policy Coordinator of Oxfam Great Britain ; Zakir Hossain Khan Transparency International Bangladesh; Mizanur Rahaman Bijoy of Network on Climate Change Bangladesh; Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara, Syed Mahbubul Alam of WBB Trust; Prodip K Roy of OK Society and Mahbub Hasan of CDP.

In his key note presentation Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD mentioned that ; as implementation responsibility of the Bangaldesh Climate Change Strategic Action Plan (BCCSAP) lying with Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) and with Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BBCTF), climate change issues has became no issue to other ministries and BCCSAP became a stand alone planning document. He proposed some recommendation in this regard; there should be each ministry plan of operation on integration of climate adaptation issues in view of BCCSAP; budget format should be done such a way that climate budgeting could be easily monitored; Prime Minister her self coordinate the climate adaptation integration issue as it is envisaged in BCCSAP; there should be some experimentation on Zila, Upazila and Union level climate adaptation planning and implementation as climate issue basically is a local issue too.

Ziaul Haque Mukta of Oxfam GB praised the government for inclusion of climate issues in its different planning documents, especially in vision 2012, outline perspective plan, six five year plan, and also inclusion of clause “18.a” in the constitution. But he criticize government in weak implementation e.g.; all those documents hardly been share and discussed in parliament; there are hardly any transparent and accountable mechanism of climate financing; and there are hardly any reflection of those planning documents in national budget.

Zakir Hossaion Khan of TIB criticize the disbursement process in BCCTF which being implemented by MOEF and Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) which is by World Bank, he said there are hardly any transparency of priority setting in both the funds, 90 % allocation of those fund has goes to non coastal areas, whereas coastal areas are most vulnerable. As Minister responsible for MOEF said that he is not responsible for implementation of BCCTF projects which is being implemented by other ministries, then here is a coordination gap.
Israfil Alam MP and Sohrab Ali Sana MP have also expressed reservation in allocation of BCCTF by MOEF. KM Jahangir expressed as implementation of embankment is a priority in climate adaptation program, then he suggested Water Development Board has to be reformed and fiscal year schedule has to be changed from July June to April to March, so that embankment construction will be completed by dry session.

Moderator of the seminar Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD has mentioned that, there is little hope that foreign aid will be coming for climate adaptation as economic health of Europe and America is bad now, he urged government must do all climate adaptation projects from national revenue.

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Dhaka, 29th May 2012. Today seventeen civil society rights group networks and organizations in a rally and human chain organized in front of national press club, Dhaka termed the Black Politics is the prime source of black money and tax injustice in the country. They urged government to expand direct tax in the next budget and to reconsider VAT expansions. They also mentioned that country must be aiming for self reliance in development finance and should not expect foreign aid more. The group carried a banner which said that, the nation wants to pay more taxes but there must be steps to reduce luxury and to stop corruption.

The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, other speakers of the rally were Joyanta Acharja of Shurakkah Foundation, Prodip K Roy of OK Society, Subal Sarkar of Bhumihin Somity, Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Fedration, Hena Chowdhury and Mejbah Uddin Ahmed of Jatiya Sramik Jote and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD. Apart from above mentioned organizations and networks other participating organizations are Development Centre Initiatives, Eventful Bangladesh Society, Manush Manusher Jonny, Media Foundation for Trade and Development, Prodip, SDO, Sirac Bangladesh, UP Trust and VOICE.

The group circulated a position paper, where they have mentioned other demands, i.e, (i) government must declare a road map to stop whitening opportunity of black money, they demand only punishment tax on undisclosed money, (ii) government must declare austerity measure as respect to the public pain in this difficult economic situation in line with the recommendation of Public Expenditure Review Commission Report (PERC) and also following the example of new French president, e.g., he declared small cabinet and reduce salary level of all 10 to 20 %, (iii) there must be steps to reduce corruption of revenue department, and (iv) Office of Auditor General must publish all audit report of government offices and urged parliamentary standing committee on public audit and accounts must be more active and open in this regard.

Mejbah Uddin Ahmed of Jatiya Sramik Jote has mentioned that in compliance with IMF conditions, government is going to prepare new VAT expansion law, which is regressive to poor, it is already 70 % source of revenue as indirect tax, while in developed and neighboring and developed countries, direct tax i.e., personal and corporate taxes are the major source of government revenue. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury has mentioned that only 5 % i.e., 8 million people most of them who lives in Dhaka are the owner of 40 % resource of the country, among them on 0.5 % only 1 million people gives taxes. They country has more than 22 thousand people who has bank account with more than taka 1 corore i.e. 10 millions, but among them only around 1000 people gives taxes. So, there are massive scopes of enhancing direct taxes.

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Dhaka, 14th June 2011. Today fifteen civil society organizations leaded by EquityBD has organized a rally in front of national press club, they criticizes Finance Minister for submission to IMF conditionality that has reduces subsidy in 2011-12 budget, government has been trying to receive $ 1 billion loan from IMF as a budget support, they mentioned that enhancing subsidy is a must to gain food self sufficiency. They reminded that gaining food self sufficiency in 2013 is in vision 2021 and in election manifesto of Awami League too that government should not back track from this promises.

The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, while spoken by Abdul Majid Mollick of Bhumihin Somitee, SM Saikat of SIRAC Bangladesh, Shipra Rani Das of Kishani Shova, Feroze Ahmed of Lead Trust, Jibanondo Joyanta of Shurrakkha and Agragoti Foundation, Prodip Kumar Roy of On Line Knowledge Centre, and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD. The fifteen organizations are Arpon, On line Knowledge Center, Lead Trust, VOICE, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Manush Manusher Jonny, SIRAC Bangladesh, Shurakha and Agragoti Foundation, Karmajibi Nari, Prothikrit, DCI, Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood, Bangladesh Krishna Shove, Bangladesh Bhumihin Shomiti, and EquityBD.

In a statement fifteen organization has placed four specific demand which are (i) Finance Minister should enhance subsidy in agriculture, rather then reducing its, there must be road path on how to gain food self sufficiency in shortest possible time (ii) BADC have to be strengthen especially in respect of producing and preserving local seeds, (iii) keeping provision of compensation by Hybrid companies who market failed seeds, and (iv) detail reporting in budget on what are the agriculture research happening in the country and how much government is being allocating money in this regard.

Jibananda Joyanta of Shurakkha and Agragoti Foundation has mentioned that even adhering the WTO policy government can enhance subsidy around 10 % of total agriculture products, which is now around 1 % only. Abdul Majid Mollick of Bangladesh Bhumihin Shomiti mentioned that Awami League government has a profound fame for giving importance on agriculture, government should protect the fame. SM Saikat of SIRAC Bangladesh mentioned that, along with reducing agriculture subsidy government has also reduced budget in social safety net and also in health and population services, which is indicating that government gradually withdrawing from social welfare services.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury Chief Moderator EquityBD has mentioned that, still developed countries is giving huge amount of subsidy in their agriculture, in USA it is in fact per day around $ 400 million, in Europe it is per day per cow around $ 6, as they have surplus products, they want to make Bangladesh as dumping ground for those. He reminded how USA manipulated Bangladesh government during 1974 in using food autarky situation, he also mentioned that how advance developing country like India shown dilly dally approach in selling 5 lac tons of food even after their commitment. He mentioned that without self sufficiency in food country will hardly be able to gain political and economical sovereignty in global politics.

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Dhaka, 6th June 2011. Today in a seminar at national press club, title “Internal Resource Mobilization and Pro Poor revenue collection Strategies”, organized by EquityBD a network of civil society rights groups, speakers urged government to prepare pro poor and revenue mobilization policy and they urged government to review of its revised VAT (value added tax) policy as they expressed that the new VAT policy in fact ultimately create burden on poor. The seminar was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD, while main speakers are member of the BNP standing committee Lt. Gen (Retd) Mahbubur Rahman; Monoronjan Shil Gopal MP, Professor Md Ali Asraf and Tazul Islam two MPs, who also the members of parliamentary standing committee on finance ministry, Dr. Mahbub E Rashid of Health Rights Movement and Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, and prominent economic journalist Asjadul Kibria and Kawsar Rahamn have also spoken on the occasion. Sayed Aminul Haque of EquityBD has presented key note paper.

In key note presentation EquityBD mentioned that future government investment will be mostly dependent on internal revenue mobilization of government, while foreign aid flow is gradually shrinking, he mentioned that direct tax in revenue mobilization is 18 % while indirect tax contribution is 82 %, where VAT is a major part. He mentioned that in developing countries even in countries like in India and Srilanka, contribution of direct tax is around 70 %, 33 % and 31 % respectively. He urged that direct tax net should be expanded. At present only around 50 % TIN (tax identification number) holders are regularly paying taxes. It is also urged that government should take policy measures to bring the invisible economy in the surface which is around 37 % of GDP. Some audit firms assist corporate houses for tax evasion, EquityBD urged to make country’s audit firms more transparent and accountable. EquityBD mentioned that new revised VAT law which has drafted in view of IMF prescriptions contains 31 changes and in fact which will create burden on poor.

Dr. Mahbub E Rashid mentioned that, government tax policy in fact is not redistributive that there will be equity and justice in the class relation of the society. Asjadul Kibria gave several examples that tax policy has structural injustice that it discourage who are self employed, he also mentioned people who pay taxes from hard earn income they are deprived from services. Mahbubur Rahman of WBB Trust has gave an example that how 2 million floating people in Dhaka city pay higher amount for using public toilet with low quality services. He mentioned that foreign companies are getting tax relax facilities that they are repatriating a huge level of profit from the country.

Lt Gen (Retd) Mahbubur Rahamn mentioned government must emphasized in reduction of corruption and different public expenditure so that there will be public confidence to pay taxes. He oppose enhancement of VAT expansion which is a regressive policy toward poor people. Monoranjan Shil and Tazul Islam two MPs stressed the need of internal resource mobilization as government need to be more responsive to its citizen, but they also acknowledge that poor entrepreneur in rural area should be exempted from revised VAT policies. Professor Asharf Ali MP acknowledged that tax and all other administration must be more transparent and accountable so that people will be able to realize that their money is being properly utilized, he gives emphasize on expanding tax net for direct tax rather then expanding VAT up to rural area.

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Dhaka, 28th May 2011. Today fifteen civil society organizations leaded by EquityBD has organized a rally in front of national press club and express worries on monopolies of foreign companies in telecommunication sector, they have urged the Finance Minister to announce special allocation for the public company TeleTalk. The fifteen organizations are Arpon, On line Knowldege Centre, Aeso, SDO, MABS, Lead Trust, Prodip, Protikrit, BNNRC, Voice, Bangladesh Bhumihin Somiiti, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Manoush Manusher Jonny, Sirac Bangladesh and ACI. They have mentioned that telecommunication now like a basic human right and it is not a luxury any more, and it is also related to keep state sovereignty and security.

The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, spoken by Rafiqul Islam Pothik of Protikrit, Zahidul Alam of BNNRC, SM Saikat of Sirac Bangladesh, Feroze Ahmed of Lead Trust, Subal Sarkar of Bangladesh Bhumihin Somiti, Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Shipra Rani Das of Bangladesh Kishani Shova, Sayed Aminul Haque and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD.

The civil society group has drawn attention of the policy makers through a written statement, the group claim monopoly of foreign companies in telecommunication sector has four major problems, i.e., (i) a huge population now a days dependent on foreign companies for such services, if they stop service for any differences with government, then it will be a big problem and will have devastating effect, (ii) profit bills which have to be send to their country of origin is being paid in dollars, such a repatriation is a threat to dollar reserve of the countries, while we have priority to purchase food and other necessary items from abroad with these reserve, (iii) it is also a threat to the state security while all information being pass through the server of these companies, and moreover (iv) the foreign companies has a tendencies to intervene in our national policy decision through, through their Ambassadors and especially through World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krishok Federation has mentioned that, foreign direct investment has done hardly any good for any developing countries, so here is a need for good competition for both public and private sector. Zahidul Alam of BNNRC has mentioned that, foreign companies look for profit, while we need to invest in our public company, which should look to minimize growing digital divide. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD has mentioned, as government announced massive plan for Digital Bangladesh in its vision 2021 and Six Five Year Plan then, and if there is no state sponsored infrastructure like Tele Talk mobile network, then whole financial benefit will go to the pockets of foreign mobile companies. Speakers urged Finance Minister to announce plan and allocation in budget 2011 -2012 to strengthen the public company TeleTalk in this regard.

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Dhaka, 21st May 2011. Today fourteen rights based civil society organizations, leaded by EquityBD
organized a rally in front of national press club urged Finance Minister to keep his promise which was
given in parliament last year and to initiate district budget, they mentioned the present budget
preparation as colonial top down process, they also said without District Budget there is no alternative
to achieve Vision 2021. Fourteen civil society organizations comprise Arpon, Ahish, Online
Knowledge Center, EquityBD, Eso, SDO, MABS, Lead Trust, Prodip, BNNRC, Voice, Bangladesh
Bhumihin Somiti, Bangladesh Krihsok Federation, and Sirak Bangladesh. The rally was moderated by
Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, while it was spoken by Swapan Bhuiyan of Krishok Forum,
Subol Sarkar of Bhumihin Shomiti, Kalu Mondol of Krishok Federation, SM Saikat of Sirak
Bangladesh, Feroz Ahmed of Lead Trust, Dr. Sohel Iqbal and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD.
SM Saikat of Sirak Banlgadesh said that, present budget has no participation of people and even of
political leaders, there are no means that from district level people will be able to monitor this, and it is
one of the reasons that corruption being increased. Feroz Ahmed of Lead Trust mentioned the top
down process basically responsible of growing trend that which are responsible of increasing regional
disparity. Subol Sarkar of Bhumihin Somiti mentioned that Finance Minister hardly take any
participation or organize any consultation with Farmers, Finance Minister only take participation from
business people and urban elite, which is not a fair process in a democratic society.
Dr. Sohel Iqbal of EquityBD mentioned that at present in view of the legal regime it is the Prime
Minister and Finance Minster has the authority to prepare and made addition in the budget, even
Member of Parliaments has no authority. He urged to review the process.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD, remind the Finance Ministry launched a concept paper in last
budget session title “Unified Budget and District Budget” with a course of action that during this
financial year there will be at least one district budget initiative in each of the division. He quoted the
concept paper that has mentioned that budget process must have to change if the government wants to
achieve vision 2021 and achieve 8 % growth by 2012-13. He urged Finance Minister to give
explanation in the parliament on this as the there are hardly any action on this. Mostafa Kamal
Akanada of EquityBD concluded the rally with three demands first Finance Minister must declare a
process of reform in budget process, second the Ministry must initiate district budget in view of its
concept note and third, government must ensure available information on sector wise allocation in
each of the district offices for mass monitoring.

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