Muhith defends big-deficit budget againStaff Correspondent
Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith on Sunday again defended the proposed budget for the next fiscal year which has a big deficit, claiming that the government would achieve the high targets of GDP growth and revenue earning.
‘The proposed budget is not ambitious and big at all compared to the previous budgets, and the government will be able to achieve the targets of revenue earning, GDP growth, inflation and other macro-economic indicators,’ he said at a post-budget dialogue.
Desh TV and Prime Bank Ltd organised the dialogue at the Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban in Dhaka University.
The size of the budget should have been more than two lakh crore instead of the proposed Tk 1.92 lakh crore, but the government could not do so under the prevailing circumstances, he added.
Muhith again supported the facility of whitening undisclosed money, saying it has been given mainly to have such money invested, in addition to preventing tax evasion and money laundering.
However, participants of the dialogue protested against the facility, saying that it will encourage corruption and discourage honest taxpayers.
Former ambassador M Hafizuddin Khan, who was an adviser to a caretaker government, said that the facility would provide tax evaders immunity from legal punishment.
Business leaders expressed concern that the excessive bank borrowing by the government would hamper private investment and employment generation and achieving GDP growth at the targeted level.
‘The government may go for excessive bank borrowing to finance its budget deficit due to the probable failure to get enough funds from national savings certificates,’ said Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez, former president of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
Business leaders and other participants also demanded reduction of tax at source on exports, and value-added tax on internet users.
Desh TV managing director Asaduzzaman Noor, who is a ruling party lawmaker, moderated the programme.
University Grants Commission chairman AK Azad Chowdhury, former adviser to the caretaker government Rasheda K Chowdhury, former ambassador Ashfaqur Rahman, , finance secretary Mohammad Tareque, economist MM Akash, ACI Ltd chairman Anis Ud Dowla, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association former president Fazlul Hoque, Bangladesh Computer Samity president Mostafa Zabbar, Tours Operators Association of Bangladesh president Hasan Mansur, Berger Paints Bangladesh Ltd managing director Rupali Chowdhury and president of Karmojibi Nari Shirin Akhter, among others, spoke.
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