Graft, plunder cripple economy: KhaledaStaff Correspondent
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, on Tuesday placed a 16- point agenda to transform the county into a higher middle income country by 2030.
She announced the plans while presenting a paper called the Budget Thoughts at a city hotel, two days
before the government announces the national budget for 2012-13 fiscal year on Thursday.
Addressing infrastructural deficiencies to attract local and foreign investments, agricultural reform, exploring new markets, proper urban development, curbing corruption, multidimensional connectivity with South, South-East and East Asian countries and optimum generation of electricity are high on the agenda.
Khaleda Zia, also opposition leader in parliament, emphasised an effective judiciary, zero population growth and establishment of rule of law for attaining the goals.
Senior BNP leaders and foreign diplomats attended the programme in which the former prime minister focused on issues like violation of human rights, economic ‘mismanagement’ and the policy of ‘crony capitalism’ being pursued by the present government.
Khaleda in her written statement censured the activities of the ruling party which, according to her, had created ‘a sense of anxiety and panic at home and abroad’ and sent the economy reeling under multiple pressures.
Referring to forced disappearances, Khaleda said 100 people, including her party leader Ilias Ali, had been abducted in last one year and remained untraced.
Besides, 300 leaders and activists of BNP have been arrested, she said.
The government could not unearth the mystery behind the murders of journalist couple Sagor and Runi and a Saudi diplomat, she said adding that one person was getting killed every three days by law enforcers and repression on journalists by police had become a regular practice.
The opposition leader said she was presenting the ‘budget thoughts’ at a time when the government had failed to ease unendurable load shedding, rising unemployment and halting the fall of local currency.
She said that the government was politicising the administration ‘nakedly’ and pursuing a ‘subservient’ foreign policy depriving the country of its rightful share of river waters.
Khaleda said that the president was granting clemency to death row convicts belonging to Awami League ‘abusing his constitutional authority.’
Referring to the railway bribery scandal, she said the ruling party men, including the high-ups, had become ‘totally corrupt’ and sackfuls of money were transacted as bribes for new appointments.
She said corruption cases against the ruling party men were being withdrawn, but ‘politically motivated’ cases filed against the BNP leader during the military-backed government were being pursued with ‘extra zeal’.
Referring to the Padma Bridge ‘scandal’, Khaleda said the Awami League was pursuing a policy of ‘crony capitalism’ which was exposed at home and abroad due to ‘corruption’ at high levels.
She pointed out that corrupt process of distribution of money from the state exchequer among the party’s own people was a naked manifestation of crony capitalism, which the present government was actively pursuing.
The BNP chief said the World Bank had not only suspended the fund for the Padma Bridge because of corruption, it also inquired about six more suspected development projects.
She accused AL government of plundering more than Tk 200 billion through quick rental and rental power plant projects and siphoning off the lion’s share of it.
She feared that chances for legalising black money would be offered to the banking sector in the new budget so that ruling party cronies who had won licences for nine new banks, could invest it.
Khaleda said Tk 15.17 billion was likely to be kept in the next budget as block allocation and special allocation for city corporations and sub-districts. She feared that the allocations could be spent for partisan purposes.
She said the planned Tk 1.9 trillion budget for the next fiscal should not be termed ‘ambitious’ compared with our overall need. But when comparing implementation capacity and resource shortage, the budget could be termed ambitious, she added.
The BNP chairperson said financing would be the main challenge as revenue board would find it an uphill task to collect the planned Tk 1.4 trillion tax amid dwindling investment and plummeting foreign aids.
She feared that like the outgoing fiscal, the finance minister would take huge loans from the banking sector, including the central bank, to implement the budget, which would push up inflation further.
Following are the proposals:
1. Address infrastructural deficiencies and ensure investment-friendly environment for both local and foreign direct investments.
2. Seek new avenues for production and explore new markets.
3. Develop human resources through advanced knowledge, technology and education and create adequate job opportunities.
4. Reform agriculture sector to expedite growth.
5. Adopt a comprehensive strategy for urban development in the context of rapid urbanisation.
6. Develop and expand multidimensional connectivity with countries of South, South- East and East Asia.
7. Pursue sustainable adaptation strategy for addressing climate change challenges.
8. Seize all opportunities for progress and property.
9. Pursue a development strategy that suits the creative and dynamic characteristic of the people of Bangladesh.
10. Ensure human security along with state security of Bangladesh.
11. Prevent waste of resources and ensure its most efficient utilisation for development of the country. Take stringent steps to curb corruption.
12. Make efforts to attain zero population growth for the country.
13.Strengthen local government institutions. Adopt comprehensive strategy for rural development.
14.Formulate and implement appropriate policies for exploration, extraction and optimum use of gas, oil, coal and other mineral resources. Ensure optimum generation and supply of electricity in the quickest possible time.
15. Make the judiciary effectively independent and neutral to ensure justice and rule of law.
16.Build a just society and ensure participation of all sections of the people in the development process of the country.
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