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‘People highest priority in proposed budget’

House passes Finance Bill

Published : 29 Jun 2020 10:35 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 02:19 AM

The proposed budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 has put the highest emphasis on protecting people and recovering the economic losses amid COVID-19 crisis, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said in the Parliament on Monday.

The Finance Minister made the statement while delivering concluding remarks on the proposed budget for the year 2020-2021.“We will prove that even such a large budget can be implemented in Bangladesh,” he said.

The Finance Minister said that people of different sectors are now facing a critical time due to economic stagnation created because of coronavirus, and so, this budget is for all.

“I can’t exclude anyone from this budget. If I could leave anyone behind, then the size of the budget could have been small,” he said.

Meanwhile, he expressed his high optimism over implementation of the budget in this adverse situation.“Asian Development Bank projected our GDP growth as 7.5 percent which is closer to our projection of 8.2 percent. Inshallah, we will be able to implement the budget,” he said.

However, opposition bench members PirFazlur Rahman, Harun Ur Rashid, ShamimHaiderPatwari, Fakhrul Imam, Begum RawshanAraMannan, KaziFiroze Rashid and MujibulHuq proposed publishing the Finance Bill for eliciting public opinions.

In response, the Finance Minister expressed his firm stance not to spare anyone involved in any anomaly in the banking sector. “We have to go a long way, we have to walk far, but this path is not smooth, we can do that if we get help from all,” he added.

Later, the bill was passed by voice vote, but the proposals for publishing the bill for eliciting public opinions and other amendments were rejected by voice vote.

The bill was introduced in the House on June 11 where Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal set an ambitious 8.2 percent GDP for the next fiscal stepping up on a comprehensive plan that includes four main strategies although he himself admitted that all calculations about the global economy have been turned upside down owing to the impact of COVID-19.

Firstly, the government will discourage luxury expenditures and prioritise government spending that creates job.

Secondly, the government will create loan facilities through commercial banks at subsidised interest rate for the affected industries and businesses so that they can revive their economic activities and maintain competitiveness home and abroad.

Third strategy is to expand the coverage of the government’s social safety net programmes to protect the extreme poor and low paid workers of informal sector from the sudden loss of their source of earning due to pandemic.

And finally, the government will increase money supply to the economy while making a delicate balance between increased money supply and possible inflationary pressure.

It is mentionable that the government has given highest importance to the health sector and proposed an allocation ofTk 29,247 crore in the budget while an additionalTk 10,000 crore has been allocated for dealing with Covid-19.