Speakers at a dialogue of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) have laid emphasis on using appropriate fiscal policy to protect low and limited earners in the country.
They observed that the government should raise the tax-free income limit in the upcoming fiscal year to give some relief to people as they have been hit hard by rising inflationary pressures.
They made the observation at the 'CPD Budget Dialogue 2022' at a hotel in the city on Thursday, reports BSS.
Planning Minister MA Mannan virtually joined the dialogue as the chief guest while Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Anisul Islam Mahmud, Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Finance Kazi Nabil Ahmed, and former commerce minister Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury attended the dialogue as special guests.
In his speech, Mannan said the government has prepared the budget covering all issues to make the country develop.
Under the social safety net programme, he said, the government is providing all sorts of support to the poor and low-income people so that they can lead a standard life.
"The government is providing standard houses to the homeless people. The government is also conducting different programmes, including open market sale (OMS), for supporting the low income and poor people," he added.
Among others, Vice-President of the Bangladesh Employers' Federation Shusmita Anis, CPD Executive Director Fahmida Khatun, President of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Rizwan Rahman and Socialist Workers Front President Razekuzzaman Ratan spoke on the occasion.
CPD Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem delivered a presentation.
Khondaker Golam Moazzem urged the government to take target-specific budgetary measures to address the "attendant challenges".
"The budget for FY23 needed to be innovative in approach, flexible in allocative priorities and target-specific in terms of budgetary measures to address the attendant challenges," he added.
He laid emphasis on using appropriate fiscal policy to protect low and limited earners in the country.
"CPD has earlier emphasised the need for protecting the low and limited earners in the country and focusing on inflation management and restoration of macroeconomic stability by coming out of GDP growth obsession," he added.
He recommended allowing tax concession to essential commodities at both import and domestic stages and providing tax reliefs to middle-income groups to protect the low and limited earners in the country.
He suggested allocating adequate resources for subsidies for keeping the administered prices of petroleum products, electricity, gas, and fertilizer and expanding social safety net provisions both in terms of coverage and the amount of per capita allocation.
Fahmida Khatun said the fiscal and monetary measures that have been taken to guard the poor, the lower-income groups, the limited-income groups, and the middle-class are inadequate.
There was an opportunity to lessen the burden of higher prices through the cut in duties of imported items and lowering of taxes domestically, she said.
"The government should have raised the tax-free income limited from the current level," she added.