BNP on Thursday described the national budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year as a smart one for plundering public money.

“It’s surely a smart budget. No government can siphon off lakhs of crores of taka abroad more smartly than the current one. No one can loot banks and public money more smartly than the current one taking advantage of the budget,” BNP’s Standing Committee Member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury.

The BNP leader also said the new budget will also help the government to smartly run its different syndicates to loot public money. “So, it’s undoubtedly a very smart budget from that perspective.”

He, however, said the country’s people are also eagerly waiting to give a reply to the government’s smart budget by holding the next polls under a neutral government.    

Khosru, also a former commerce minister, made the remarks while giving the party’s initial reaction to the proposed national budget at his Banani residence.

“The government has created an economic model for looting public money with a principle of patron-client relationship. The budget was formulated based on this economic model. It means those who belong to the ruling party or are patronised by the government will be benefited from this budget, not the common people,” he observed.  

The BNP leader said that the government’s economic strategy is based on rent-seeking, commission and extortion-seeking policies. “They (AL leaders) will take rent, extortion and commission for any work. This is the basis of the economy and the budget and people will bear its main brunt. All the institutions have become extractive for plundering. “The patron-client relationship system, rent-seeking policy and extractive institutions are driving the entire economy of the country.”

Khosru said the government-backed quarters will be richer while the common people will be poorer if the budget is implemented.

The BNP leader also said the government has destroyed the macroeconomic structure, which was at a stable position during BNP’s rule, only for protecting the interests of the ruling party-backed plunderers. “So, people are becoming poorer and losing their living standard.”

While the people are struggling to survive, he said that the government has imposed a fresh burden on them by enhancing the tax net. “Those who are becoming richer through corruption and looting don’t pay tax as they illegally siphon off their money abroad, creating a dollar crisis in the country. The prices of essentials are going up due to the shortage of dollars, inflicting suffering on people.”

He said the government’s debt has increased by 52 percent in the last seven years as the government has been taking loans from Bangladesh Banks, other banks and external sources. “The new generation will have to pay this debt.”

Khosru said a political solution is needed to salvage the ruining economy of Bangladesh. “The political solution means establishing a government and parliament elected with the votes of the people of Bangladesh.”

He said the budget is a reflection of people’s thoughts and a reflection of political thoughts. “People’s political thoughts won’t be reflected in the budget as an illegal usurper government has been there in power.”

The BNP leader said this budget will not help reduce inflation and the prices of essentials as there is no step to stop the business syndicate those involved in looting and money laundering.