Describing the proposed national budget for 2020-21 fiscal year as ‘pro-people’ and ‘pro-development’, Agriculture Minister Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque told parliament that it will definitely be possible to implement it.
“I don’t think that it’ll be very difficult to implement the budget,” he said participating in the general discussion on the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year in the House.
The Agriculture Minister said once Bangladesh was a country of food deficit, But Bangladesh is self-sufficient in food now. “We are now food-surplus country even during the corona crisis. We produce surplus food. We don’t have deficit in any crops.”
He said agriculture is a big factor for the economy. “If the agricultural indexes remain in good positions, we can surely achieve the targets in other indexes and definitely implement this budget with the high GDP growth.”
Dr Razzaque said the government had been able to earn high GDP growth and goals in every budget in the previous years and this budget was designed maintaining the continuity of the previous ones.
“I don’t believe that this budget is highly ambitious and no way realistic,” he said adding that now the country’s GDP stands over Tk 30 lakh crore.
Noting that the coronavirus will not last forever, he said the implementation of the budget truly started from September and October in the country.
Joining the discussion, Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said the allocation for the social safety sector was increased by Tk 14,000 crore (16 percent) in the proposed budget compared to allocation given in the outgoing budget.
Thanks to the right measures taken by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is among the countries with lowest death rates out of the Covid-19 affected nations, he said.
Among the infected persons, the death rate is 5.55 in China, 5.13 percent in USA, 13.97 percent in UK, 16 percent in Belgium, 4.66 percent in Germany, 3.18 in India, 2 in Pakistan and 1.29 percent in Bangladesh, the Information Minister said.
Workers Party MP Fazle Hossain Badsha (Rajshahi-2) said the government didn’t do the right job placing a high growth-oriented budget amid the adversity arising out of the coronavirus.
“In face of the adversity, the Finance Minister placed a growth-centric budget. I think we’ve not done the right job designing a growth-oriented budget,” he said adding that the poverty rate came down at 20 percent but many people may go again under the poverty line in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said some one crore people were brought under the social safety net in the country, but it is essential to expand the coverage of this safety net further.
Noting that the allocation given against the health sector for the next fiscal year is very insufficient, Fazle Hossain Badsha proposed to increase the allocation in the budget as it is essential to bring a structural change to the whole healthcare system in the country.
He said the money from the subsidy and stimulus packages should properly reach the right persons.
The Workers Party MP suggested the government to take initiative for introducing the digital class in the public universities and subsequently in other educational institutions during this corona crisis.
Jasod MP Hasanul Haq Inu described the proposed budget as usual budget adding that there is nothing innovative or reform proposal in this budget.
“Seeing the budget, there is nothing called corona in the country… It is just a normal budget for unusual time,” he said.
Inu proposed raising the allocation for the health sector to 2 percent of the GDP from 1 percent.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni and Awami League MPs Mirza Azam (Jamalpur-3), Md. Shafiul Islam (Dhaka-10), Umme Kulsum Smriti (Gaibandha-3) and Md Amirul Alam Milon (Bagerhat-4) also participated in the discussion.
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