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WB sees some risks in budget implementation

Staff Correspondent: The World Bank emphasises better targeting of subsidies to reach the people who deserve those as the government’s loss financing in the proposed budget may exceed an estimated amount of Tk 93 billion creating pressure on development spending.

It also cautions, the government will have to borrow higher than projected money from banks depriving the private sector of much-needed credit if the National Board of Revenue fails to attain the higher target of revenue collection next fiscal year.

“Budgetary provisions for subsidy may not be enough.. Currently people of all strata (including the rich) benefit from the subsidies,” WB senior economist Zahid Hossain said during a briefing on “State of the Economy and the FY12 Budget” on Thursday.

Losses incurred by state-owned enterprises like Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation may increase if prices of fuel and food in the international market rise and administered prices at home are not readjusted.

However, the WB reckoned the budgetary allocations to be pro-poor keeping a balance with 53 percent money avowedly earmarked for poverty reduction activities.

The lending agency recognised inflation as a matter of concern but its economists refrained from commenting on signs of political confrontation, especially hartal that might hamper economic growth.

Terming the budget realistic but ambitious, the WB observed that there are a number of risks such as problem of implementation and crowding out of the private sector.

“Failure to achieve revenue targets will add to borrowing pressure. This may constrain economic growth,” Sanjay Kathuria, lead economist at WB Dhaka office said.

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