Next budget at Tk 1.89 trillionStaff Correspondent
Muhith hints at 7.3pc growth
Finance minister AMA Muhith on Tuesday said the size of the budget for next fiscal year will be Tk 1.89 trillion with a projected growth of the gross domestic product at 7.3 per cent.
‘We will also try to keep rate of inflation below double digit in the next fiscal,’ he said at a pre-budget meeting with the economists and the former government officials at his office.
The rate of inflation in the first eight months of the current fiscal is, however, prevailing over the double digit, he added.
The government had projected the annual rate of inflation at 7.5 per cent in the outgoing fiscal year.
The finance minister said the government will emphasis more on strategies than finance to prepare and implement the next budget which will be the penultimate one for the present government’s five-year tenure.
The finance minister said agricultural get top priority in the budget.
Besides, focus on human resources development along with electricity and fuels oils, will be increased, he added.
The finance minister admitted that digitalisation in different areas, especially in the land sector, has not been implemented as per commitment and expectation.
He said special attention would be given to the land digitalisation project in the coming budget.
Economists and former government officials urged the finance minister not to rely on bank borrowings, especially from the Bangladesh Bank, to implement the budget.
They demanded withdrawal of taxes on saving certificates.
Former caretaker government adviser Hafizuddin, former Bangladesh Bank governor Farashuddin, Sonali Bank chairman Bahauddin, former finance secretary Siddiqur Rahman, Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, former banker Mamun Rashid and Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director Mustafizur Rahman and its distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya took part in the discussion.
They suggested that the government should maintain macro-economic stability and formulate a coal policy immediately for future energy security.
Most of them argued that the government should be articulate in making projections on the economic indicators and increase capacity in execution of the annual development programme.
Hafizuddin said 5 per cent tax on saving certificates is illogical and rare in the world. He also stressed on performance audit to ensure proper execution of the ADP and allocation for higher education.
Farashuddin said borrowing from the central bank is suicidal which only pushes up inflation.
Bahauddin said monitoring of prices of essential commodities should be enhanced to save people from the clutch of ‘profit mongering’ traders.
Siddiqur Rahman said the government should bust illegal money holders who were not utilising fiscal incentives to legalise their black money.
Mustafizur Rahman said a new mechanism should be developed to check ‘transfer of pricing’ which forced the government to incur losses to the tune of $1.8 billion annually.
Debapriya Bhattacharya said the government is facing challenges including maintaining budgetary discipline, GDP growth and investment.
Jamilur Reaza said there is a lot of hue and cry with digitalisation which became a lackluster. He said accreditation council should be established to prevent certificate selling business by the private universities.
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