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Bangladeshi CSOs demand people-centric budget for 2024-25

Bangladeshi CSOs demand people-centric budget for 2024-25

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At an event led by EquityBD, various CSOs highlighted critical issues regarding the proposed 2024-25 budget

Desk Report

Publisted at 5:32 PM, Sat May 18th, 2024

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Bangladeshi civil society organizations (CSOs) have raised concerns about the country's increasing debt and its implications for sustainability following Bangladesh's transition to a middle-income country. 

They demanded a people-centric budget at an event held today (18 May) led by EquityBD.

“The total FY 2024-25 budget will be Tk8.05 trillion including a debt of Tk2.75 trillion. The per capita debt is now US $580. The repayment of this unprecedented amount of debt will cause reductions in the lifeline of people,” said Omour Faruk Bhuiya of BDCSO Process.

Ferdous Ara Rumee from the International Rural Women’s Day Observation Committee stated, “91% of people are involved in the informal sector employment where 95% are women. We must evaluate women's progress through the yearly gender-budget reporting system.”

Mustafa Kamal Akanda of COAST Foundation criticized the budget allocation for roads and highways, saying, “The total budget for roads and highways is 875 billion Taka while there is no allocation for safety in the road. The number of deaths in road accidents in 2023 is 8,505.”

Mir Mohammad Ali of Shere Bangla Agricultural University highlighted the challenges facing fisherfolk, explaining, “Fisheries and aquaculture employed nearly 1.4 million people but the budget hardly considers how the poor fisherfolk survive during three to four fishing ban periods across the year.”

Pradip K Roy of the Online Knowledge Society stressed the need for investment in skilled human resources, stating, “The government must allocate enough budget for skilled human resources if we want to take advantage of the demographic dividend by 2040.”

Abul Hasan of EquityBD pointed out, “Internal climate-induced migration is one of the biggest challenges for Bangladesh. Even after five years of migration strategy paper is developed, not enough investment is declared on it.”

Hasan Mehedi of CLEAN emphasized, “The government’s 8th FYP planned to achieve at least 10% renewable energy by 2025, now only 3%. The allocation for power in the upcoming budget is 450 billion Taka hardly has the allocation to achieve the target.”

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the Chief Moderator of EquityBD, concluded, “The entire budget process in Bangladesh is undemocratic. Even the participation of the parliament members in the budget process is questionable.”

The event, moderated by Mustafa Kamal Akanda of COAST Foundation, featured speakers from various organizations, including Bangladesh Krishok Federation, CLEAN, CSRL, NDF, Online Knowledge Society, Sundarban Bachao Andolon, Young Change Makers, and Water Keepers Bangladesh.

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