Dhaka, Bangladesh
Parliament passes big budget amid economic slowdown

Parliament passes big budget amid economic slowdown

Hiked duty on telecom services unchanged

News Report: Pinning hope on a post-pandemic economic vibrancy and deficit financing from domestic and foreign borrowings, the government's finance authority pushed through parliament an 'ambitious' budget with no changes in spending and targets. The outlay remained as proposed at Tk 5.68 trillion and GDP-growth target at 8.2 percent as the Jatiya Sangsad Tuesday passed the national budget for the next fiscal year (2020-21). The government side holds the hope of being able to navigate through the present crisis and get to the goals after tackling the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. An expectation from within government ranks and without for reconsideration of an additional 5.0 percent supplementary duty on mobile-phone and internet usages was not finally considered. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal moved the Appropriations Bill 2020 seeking to spend a budgetary allocation of Tk 7,59,642.44 crore. The bill was passed by voice vote granting the government appropriations right to spend the budgeted money. Following the proposal mooted in the House by the Finance Ministry for the parliamentary approval for appropriation of funds for meeting necessary development and non-development expenditures of the government, the ministers concerned placed justifications for the expenditures by their respective ministries through 59 demands for grants. Earlier, the highly treasury-dominated parliament rejected by voice vote a total of only 421 cut-motions that stood in the name of opposition members on 59 demands for grants for different ministries. A total of nine MPs from Jatiya Party and BNP submitted their cut-motions on the budget. They are Kazi Firoze Rashid, Mujibul Huq, Fakhrul Imam, Pir Fazlur Rahman, Shamim Haider Patwari, Liaquat Hossain Khoka, Begum Rawshan Ara Mannan, Harun Ur Rashid and Rumeen Farhana. They were, however, allowed to participate in discussion on Law Ministry and Health Ministry. The latter came under ire of the opposition lawmakers over the state of healthcare and "lack of coordination" during the corona-time health emergency. Later, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury applied guillotine to quicken the process of passing the demands for grants for different ministries without giving lunch break. Opposition and independent MPs were present at the House when the Appropriations Bill was passed and they did not raise any voice against the passing of the bill. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on June 11 placed the Tk 568,000- crore budget to attain an ambitious 8.2 percent GDP, which has been revised to 5.2 percent in line with maintaining a 5.4 percent inflation for the next fiscal overcoming all the challenges and impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The total allocation for operating and other expenditures is estimated at Tk 3,62,855 crore, while the allocation for the annual development programme (ADP) is Tk 2,05,145 crore. The total budget size in the outgoing fiscal year was earlier estimated at Tk 5,23,190 crore. In the revised budget, the expenditure was reduced by Tk 21,613 crore, and thus downsized to Tk 5,01,577 crore. Keeping in mind the realities and planned reforms in revenue management, the government set the target of total revenue income in the fiscal year 2020-21 at Tk 378,000 crore. Out of this, Tk. 330,000 crore will be collected through the NBR. Tax revenue from non-NBR sources has been estimated at Tk 15,000 crore, while the non-tax revenue at Tk 33,000 crore, he continued. The overall budget deficit has been estimated at Tk 190,000 crore, which is 6 percent of GDP, up from 5.0 percent in the last fiscal year. Out of the total deficit, Tk 80,017 crore will be financed from external sources, while Tk 109,983 crore from domestic sources of which Tk 84,983 crore will come from the banking system and Tk 25,000 crore from savings certificates and other non-bank sources. For the social infrastructure sector the budget allocation is Tk 155,536 crore, which is 27.38 percent of total allocation, in which allocation for human resources sector (education, health and other related sectors) will be Tk 140,222 crore. Besides, the allocation proposed for the physical infrastructure sector will be Tk 167,011 crore or 29.40 percent, in which Tk 69,553 crore will go to overall agricultural and rural development, Tk 61,435 crore to overall communications, and Tk 26,758 crore to power and energy. A total of Tk 140,265 crore has been allocated for general services, which is 24.69 percent of the total allocation. An amount of Tk 36,610 crore has been allotted for public-private partnership (PPP), financial assistance to different industries, subsidies and equity investments in nationalised corporations, banks, and financial institutions, which is 6.45 percent of the total allocation. As per ministry -and division-wise allocation, the Local Government Division received a budgetary allocation of Tk 36,103 crore, followed by Tk 22,883 crore to the Health Services Division alongside Tk 6,362 crore to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Tk 29,442 crore to the Road Transport and Highways Division, Tk 24,853 crore to the Power Division, Tk 15,442 crore to the Ministry of Agriculture, Tk 33,118 crore to Secondary and Higher Education Division, Tk 24,937 crore to the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, Tk 34,842 crore to the Ministry of Defense. To fulfill emergency requirements, aTk 10,000-crore lump-sum amount has been allotted to fight against Covid-19 in the health sector. The government has allocated Tk 95,574 crore for the social-safety-net programmes, which is 16.83 percent of the total budget and 3.01 percent of GDP, in FY 2020-21. In last year’s revised budget, the allocation was Tk 81,865 crore. Earlier on Monday, the parliament passed the Finance Bill 2020 with some changes to give legal cover to the budget. With inputs from live coverage, agencies

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