Bangladesh National Budget for FY 2018-19: Repetition of Deceptive Promises to Extort the Wealth of the People only to Increase the Wealth of the Rich and Ruling Elites

14 July, 2018
Bangladesh National Budget for FY 2018-19:
Repetition of Deceptive Promises to Extort the Wealth of the People only to Increase the Wealth of the Rich and Ruling Elites

 

The National Parliament of Bangladesh passed a deficit national budget of Tk 4,64,573 crore for the 2018-19 fiscal year on June 28, 2018. The size of the budget was 18.3 percent higher than that of the previous year. The sectors which got major allocation of the budget were Technology and Human Resource Development (14.6%), and Transportation and Communication (12%), Interest payment (11.1%), Subsidies and Incentives (7.1%), local government and rural development. GDP growth is targeted at 7.8% with an inflation of 5.6%. The total deficit is estimated at Tk 1,25,293 crore. The budget has set revenue realization target at Tk 2,96,201 Crore, which is 31% (approx.) higher than the previous year’s revised target. The expenditure for Annual Development Programs (ADP) is set at Tk 1,79,669 crore, which is 12% (approx.) higher than that of the previous year.
 
The budget is a cliché presentation of what the people have being experiencing since the inception of the country in 1971. Each budget came as a nightmare to the common people as they had to take the tab of the looting, profligacy and inefficiency of the ruling elites. As continuation of past extortions, the government has come up with another big set of flowery and hollow promises to deceive the people particularly in this election year. In reality, the large budget will only allow the government to further exploit the wealth of thr people by imposing additional tax burden sugar coated with the fantasy of development. The budget is formulated in line with the capitalist thought of increasing GDP turning a blind eye to the distribution of wealth, where government projects that achieve higher GDP growth are the key to solve peoples’ economic problems. This is certainly a deceptive notion as we have observed increased suffering of the people with higher GDP growths in the past years. The employment generation is viewed as increasing the need of labor for only large capitals rather than enabling general people to undertake diverse enterprises. Finally, the budget has reflected the corrupted production centric capitalist philosophy, which is the core cause of the economic suffering that the general people is enduring and looking for salvation from.

The budget did not raise the ceiling of tax-free income (Taka 2.5 lakh) while admitting an inflationary impact of 5.6%. On the other hand, the corporate tax rates including for the ailing banking sector have been significantly reduced by 2.5% to benefit the capitalists. Apart from direct taxes, oppressive and discriminatory measures of VAT will further deteriorate the financial health of the common people by increasing their cost of living. The VAT is imposed on services which middle class people generally avail while VAT on small sized flats is increased and that on the luxury flats is decreased. The measures clearly expose the government’s disregard towards peoples’ basic needs.

When general people will suffer from infliction of VAT and taxes, the ailing banking sector, which is controlled by around 25 rich families, will be indirectly bailed out with the wealth of the common people. Rather than recovering the looted public money, government is bailing out the banks by further extorting and injecting peoples’ wealth by force. Another aspect of the budget is the process of indebting the people as the interest payments, which are grave sin in Islam, get the fourth highest allocation of Tk 51,340 crore in the budget. Government aims to use the hard earned money of general people to service haram debt to ensure handsome return to usurious capitalists.

We can foresee that the budget will further widen the existing gap between the rich and the poor as the benefit of the budget will go to the privileged quarter while inflicting additional tax burden and inflationary pressure on general people.


Islam has brought unique economic rules and public finance policies to fund the necessary government expenditures and achieve equitable distribution of wealth. Islam does not allow the government to impose any form of income tax on citizens. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “The unjust tax collector will not enter Paradise.” (Abi Dawud). Also, the Islamic government is restricted by Shariah both in sector and priority, which curbs the government from capricious spending. The Khalifah (Caliph) is accountable to Allah (swt) for discharging the affairs of the people, and is responsible to distribute sufficient wealth to every person to meet his or her basic needs.

The Khilafah (Caliphate), which will be re-established soon by the leave of Allah (swt) as He (swt) has promised, is the only choice for the Muslims to adopt as their governing system, which can truly ensure equitable distribution of wealth among the people and end the unjust power of the capitalists to concentrate wealth and monopolize the economy. Islam ensures every citizen’s due right to wealth and abolishes all systems, thoughts, processes that lead to concentration of wealth. Allah (swt) says:

 

كَىۡ لَا يَكُوۡنَ دُوۡلَةًۢ بَيۡنَ الۡاَغۡنِيَآءِ مِنۡكُمۡ​ وَمَاۤ اٰتٰٮكُمُ الرَّسُوۡلُ فَخُذُُ وَ مَا َنَهٰٮكُمۡ عَنۡهُ فَانْتَهُوۡا​ ۚ

 

 “…so that it will not be a perpetual distribution among the rich from among you. And whatever the Messenger has given you - take; and what he has forbidden you - refrain from” (TMQ Al-Hashr:7)

 

Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir, Wilayah Bangladesh