Speakers demanded at Pre- Budget Discussion

Bangladesh needs to regain sovereignty in policy-making for Development.  Farmer’s association should be formed through direct   assistance and involvement of local government to get fair price of their production. Agricultural insurance should be introduced. The jute    industry should be revived. Agricultural supports especially loan to the small and marginal farmers should be strengthened. Development planning should be formulated in consistence with Climate Change. Agriculture, employment generation and strengthening of local    government should be prioritized and allocation should be increased in those sectors according to the need of the people. For the proper    implementation of development budget, activities should be started just after the declaration of the budget. The gaps should be minimized   between declared budget, revised budget and implemented budget. According to the pledge of election manifesto, road map should be   declared earlier”. Today, (2nd May 2009) prominent economist of Bangladesh and chief guest of the round table seminar, Dr. Qazi    Kholiquzzaman Ahmed addressed in the round table discussion titled“Agriculture, Food sovereignty and priority of public service   sectors”dated May 2, 2009 at VIP lounge of National Press Club, Dhaka Bangladesh.

Mr. Shawkat Momen Sahjahan, law-maker and president of parliamentary standing committee on agricultural affairs, A. Kha. M. Jahangir Hossain former law-maker and state minister for textile, Abdul Mannan former law-maker and state minister for civil aviation and tourism addressed the round table discussion as special guests. Mr. Abdul Awal, Chairperson of SUPRO has presided and moderated over the seminar while welcome speech was delivered by Uma Chowdhury, Director of SUPRO. A position paper incorporating the demands and recommendations from districts presented by Lawrence Besra, Program Coordinator of SUPRO to initiate the discussion of the seminar. Besides that districts leaders of SUPRO network also participated at the seminar.   It is to be noted that SUPRO has organized pre-budget seminars at 43 districts before organizing this national pre - budget seminar.

Mr. Shawkat Momen Sahjahan in his speech said that we find every year that development budget could not be implemented fully due to time constraint or others problem. So, development actions should be started just after declaration of the budget. Subsidies for agricultures should be reached directly to the farmers. It should be obligatory to take permission from Agricultural Department to utilize agricultural lands for non-agricultural purposes. He has also emphasized to utilize surface water for irrigation.

A. Kha. M. Jahangir Hossain former law-maker and state minister for textile delivered his speech emphasizing that in order to implement of development budget fiscal year should be made calendar year (January to December) so that enough time would be available for proper implementation of allocated budget. Military education budget should be separated from education budget. Up to secondary level, education should be made free and compulsory for all. Coastal Development Board should be formed for implementation of coastal development policy. The distribution authority of electricity should be laid on the government. In order to achieve food sovereignty, saline tolerable rice seeds should be produced.

Abdul Mannan former law-maker and state minister for civil aviation and tourism stressed in his speech that electricity should be produced in accordance with the need of the entire population.  For this reason, we urgently need a long term plan to address the issue appropriately. Agricultural subsidies like as diesel, fertilizers, electricity and irrigation should be distributed to farmers through public agricultural official in due time.

Abdul Awal the chairperson and moderator of the round table seminar said that we have come to know that government is going to formulate a sovereign five-year plan very soon. SUPRO has been campaigning on this particular demand for a long time. We expect that the participation of grass roots people in formulating this five-year plan would be ensured. In this way, an accountable and transparent space would be created through involvement of people in the policy making process.  We would like to expect a poverty free Bangladesh through an accountable and people’s oriented government on the year of celebration of golden Jubilee (50th year) of freedom fighting of Bangladesh.

In this round table seminar, SUPRO district leaders like as, Shawkat Ali-Sirjganj, Jillur Rahman-Giabandha, Dipendra Sarker-Nilfamari, Moinul Hossain Munna-Pirojpur have also delivered their speeches on regional importance in allocation of national budget.