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lead economist of the World Bank Dhaka Office Zahid Hussain

Achieving quality outcomes from budget a big challenge: WB

WT24 Desk

Mentioning that its size matters little, the World Bank on Wednesday observed that the implementation of Bangladesh’s national budget with quality outcomes will remain a big challenge for the government, UNB reports.

“At the end of the day, the size of the budget isn’t an issue for us, rather the key is to see the outcome and its quality,” said lead economist of the World Bank Dhaka Office Zahid Hussain.

He was addressing a press conference at its office on the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2016-17. Observing that there are many positive aspects in the budget, the economist of the global lending agency said, “As the size of the proposed budget for the fiscal 2016-17 is huge, it could have been better.”

On investment, Hussain said political uncertainty is a big problem to attract investment. “Now there’s stability in the country but uncertainty remains.”

He, however, said investment could be boosted by solving some infrastructural problems.

Replying to a query to employment, the WB economist said there she should be adequate scopes for employment generation. To create more jobs, he said, private sector investment in labour intensive industries have to be increased.

Sought comments over businessmen’s claim that the proposed budget is not a business-friendly one, Hussain said the government has to increase tax collection and there is no alternative to it.

“If the government ensures proper services to taxpayers, the budget will be business-friendly one, he said laying emphasis on proper coordination between collection and expenditure.

Talking about the progress over the ‘Fast Track Project, he said only two projects out of total 10 are promising while the remaining ones saw less than 10 percent progress.

If the government continues to allocate the same amount of budget in the fast-track projects like that of FY 2016-17, it will require a long time to implement the projects, Hussain said.

Observing policy as the main challenge in energy sector, he said the Energy Pricing Policy should be reformed in order to increase investment in the energy sector.

The World Bank economist said maintenance is the prime challenge in the transport sector. “There’re many projects in the sector.  But, there has been no development on the safety roads issue,” he added.

World Bank’s Country Director Qimiao Fan also spoke on the occasion.

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