Budget-friendly Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day
“We are most alive when we are in love,” according to John Updike. People around the world celebrate Valentine’s day on 14th February as a day of love. Valentine's Day is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate how much you care for your partner. However, due to the economic slowdown, post-pandemic effect, and many other reasons, many couples can't spend money to get their partner expensive gifts on this special day. Let's find out some ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day in affordable ways. Affordable Ways to Have a Special Valentine’s Day Set a Budget for the Day The first step towards saving significantly on Valentine's Day is establishing a budget. Consider what additional costs you have for the month, what bills need to be paid, and the amount of money you will have left over after paying your bills. Most importantly, after you've established a Valentine's Day budget, adhere to it! If you and your significant other have a financial strategy or objective, they will appreciate this action. Read More: 2023 Valentine’s Day Deals, Offers by Different Brands in Bangladesh Make DIY Cards and Gifts For many celebrants, Valentine's Day is about spending time and expressing affection and appreciation for a loved one. Certainly, extravagant presents are lovely, but most recipients will not anticipate them. They may even want a more personalized approach. Anyone may acquire diamonds, but not everyone has the ability to be inventive and produce something valuable. By creating your own Valentine's Day card, you may immediately save a significant amount of money. It just requires scissors, paper, and a customized, sincere message. Add a piece of handmade music, bake a delicious treat, or take it to the next level by creating jewelry from craft shop supplies. Plan a Home Dining Event If you truly want to save money on Valentine's Day, have the whole supper at home. Then you may splurge on appetizers, entrees, desserts, and beverages at half the price. Additionally, this creates a much more intimate and personal encounter. Read More: 10 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Wife Create a customized playlist of your favorite tunes and light some candles. In addition, your significant other will appreciate the additional effort you are doing to establish the atmosphere. They won't even suspect you're attempting to save money by dining at home.
1st quarter performance of FY22-23 budget satisfactory: Finance Minister
The position of basic macroeconomic indexes including revenue collection, remittances, export growth, annual development programme (ADP) expenditure and money supply in the first quarter (July-September) of the running 2022-23 fiscal was satisfactory. This was stated by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday in a report placed in the House on the progress of the implementation 2022-23 budget in the financial year’s first quarter. “Revenue collection was done as per the target, positive trend was seen in import and export income, and as a result I am hoping that we will be able to attain our desired target in the current budget,” he said. Read more: No new pay scale, dearness allowance for govt employees right now: Finance Minister He mentioned that the revenue collection registered 19.33 percent in the first quarter which was 18.72 percent in the last fiscal. The public expenditure was 11.14 percent against 11.90 percent in the same period of 2021-22 fiscal while implementation rate of ADP was 8.55 percent against 8.26 percent. The finance minister said that due to the increase of import expenditure there was deficit in the current account balance that reduced to USD 36.47 billion in the reserve on September 30, 2022 which was USD 46.22 billion in the same period of 2021. The growth in the remittances inflow was 4.89 percent against 19.44 percent in the previous 2021-22 fiscal. The export income growth rate was 13.38 percent against 11.37 percent during the same period of the last fiscal. “The positive trend of export trading growth will play as important variable in advancing our economy,” he said. He said that the import expenditure (C&F) increased 11.67 percent which was 47.56 percent in the same time of the last fiscal. He said that normalisation of economic activities after COVID-19 period and significant rise of import of intermediary and capital machineries led to a huge hike in import expenditure. Read more: Legal process underway to bring home laundered money: Finance Minister “But, currently avoidance of luxury items and exercise of austerity by the government caused a decrease in import expenditure,” he said. The LC opening during July-September tenure in 2022 was USD 18.58 billion which was 4.57 percent less than the same period of the previous fiscal. As per the report, annual average inflation was 5.50 percent in September 2021 while it increased 6.96 percent in September 2022. On the other hand, the point-to-point inflation in September 2021 was 5.59 percent, while it increased to 9.10 percent in 2022. Regarding the budget deficit Mustafa Kamal said that the estimated deficit is 5.51 percent of the GDP. For deficit financing 2.22 percent sill come from external sources while 3.29 percent would be mitigated from domestic sources. He said that to contain pressure from inflation, the central bank took the path of contractionary monetary policy. The minister said that thanks to timely steps from the government it was possible to contain the inflation forced by price hike of fuel oil price and food items due to the Russia-Ukraine War, and depreciation of Taka against US Dollar.
Sri Lanka's Parliamant approves budget amid economic crisis
Sri Lanka's Parliament approved a budget Thursday that includes reforms aimed at improving the country's finances as it attempts to recover from its worst economic crisis. The 5.82 trillion rupee ($15 billion) budget includes a 43 billion rupee ($117 million) relief package for those affected by the crisis. The budget provides for a restructuring of state-owned enterprises, reduced subsidies for electricity, and tax increases to boost state revenue based on proposals by the International Monetary Fund under a preliminary $2.9 billion bailout plan. Read more: Bangladesh Bank asks banks to stop ACU transactions with Sri Lanka Unsustainable government debt, a severe balance of payments crisis and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a shortage of essentials such as fuel, medicine and food, and soaring prices have caused severe hardships for most Sri Lankans. Many have lost their jobs because businesses have become unsustainable. The government announced in April that it was suspending repayment of nearly $7 billion in foreign debt due this year. It has since entered a preliminary agreement with the IMF, which has agreed to provide $2.9 billion over four years depending on the willingness of Sri Lanka's creditors to restructure their loans. Sri Lanka's total foreign debt exceeds $51 billion, of which $28 billion has to be repaid by 2027. The economic meltdown triggered a political crisis in which thousands of protesters stormed the official residence of the president in July, forcing then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and later resign. Read more: IMF agrees to provide crisis-hit Sri Lanka $2.9 billion President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who succeeded Rajapaksa, has somewhat reduced the shortages of fuel and cooking gas, but power outages continue, along with shortages of imported medicines.
Tax return document not needed for loans up to Tk 20 lakh: NBR
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has omitted the requirement of tax return documents for bank loans up to Tk 20 lakh. The revenue board issued a notification in this regard today with immediate effect, which will be continued till June 30, 2023. The budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 made it mandatory to show tax return documents to get services under 38 categories. Of them, tax return documents were made mandatory for bank loans of over Tk 5 lakh. Read: NBR dreams to cross revenue Tk3.0 lakh crore in FY 22 As per the revised directive, NBR has relaxed conditions, after requests from business organizations, as small entrepreneurs were facing difficulties in showing tax-related documents. Bangladesh Bank has increased the ceiling of loan disbursement to cottage, micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (CMSMEs). But loan distribution at the rural level became slow due to mandatory tax return documents for loans. Considering the situation, the revenue board omitted requirement of showing tax return document for loan of up to Tk 20 lakh if the borrower has no taxable income. Read: Income Tax Wing of NBR racing to meet target in last 4 months of fiscal
Repatriating laundered money morally unacceptable: Planning Minister
Planning Minister MA Mannan said on Friday that although the government has given an opportunity to the money launderers to bring back their smuggled money from abroad in the new fiscal’s budget, the entire matter is morally unacceptable. Mannan was speaking at a shadow parliament competition organized by Debate for Democracy at the FDC premises in Dhaka. Mannan said that it is impossible to bring back the total amount of money that has been laundered from Bangladesh over the years. That’s why the government will be able to bring back only a tiny amount of money at best in this process. “A section of people in the country have huge amounts of money lying idle in their hands. They are transferring this money to various countries other than Bangladesh. The countries that are receiving this money are giving these people opportunities to invest without checking the sources of this income,” said Mannan. Mannan added that it won’t be bad if some of this money comes back to Bangladesh. But the money launderers didn’t smuggle their money out to bring it back. Presiding over the function, Debate for Democracy President Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury Kiron said that the government has favored the money launderers through its provision of bringing back laundered money by paying a mere seven percent tax. Read: 'Dhaka to ensure safe water, hygiene & sanitation for all by 2030' “This fiscal year’s budget has been devised mostly for businessmen and those who embezzle money in various ways. This can send a signal to the people that those who create and unseat governments have been the primary beneficiary of the current budget,” said Kiron. Debaters from Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU) became champion of the competition by defeating Government Titumir College debaters. Development Specialist Dr SM Morshed and journalists Rizvi Newaz, Kaberi Maitra and Arifur Rahman were the judges of the competition.
Parliament passes new national budget by voice vote
The Parliament on Thursday passed the Tk 678,064 crore national budget for the fiscal year 2022-23. It is effective from Friday. The theme of the budget is 'Return to the Path of Development Leaving the COVID-19 Behind' and to overcome the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war on the economy. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal moved the Appropriations Bill, 2022 seeking a budgetary allocation of Tk 883751,81,97,000 crore which was passed by voice vote. Earlier on Wednesday, the House passed the Finance Bill 2022 with some changes. Following the proposal mooted in the House by the Finance Ministry for the parliamentary approval of appropriation of fund 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 grant. Earlier, the House rejected by voice vote a total of 664 cut-motions that stood in the name of opposition members on 59 demands for grants for different ministries. A total of thirteen MPs from Jatiya Party, BNP, Gono Forum and Independent submitted their cut-motions on the budget. READ: PM in JS: Measures taken to make next parliamentary polls more acceptable They are Kazi Firoze Rashid, Rustam Ali Farazi, Mujibul Huq, Fakhrul Imam, Pir Fazlur Rahman, Shamim Haider Patwari, Begum Rawshan Ara Mannan, Ponir Uddin Ahmed, Harun Ur Rashid, Mosharrof Hossain, Mokabbir Khan, Rumeen Farhana and Rezaul Karim Bablu. They were, however, allowed to participate in the discussion on Election Commission Secretariat, Public Security Division, Health Services Division and Secondary and Higher Education Division. Later, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury applied guillotine to quicken the process of passing the demands for grants for different ministries. Opposition and independent MPs were present at the House when the Appropriation Bill was passed in Parliament and they did not object to the passage of the bill. The finance minister on June 9 placed a Tk 678,064 crore-national budget for FY 2022-23 beginning July 1. The budget kept the GDP growth target at 7.5 per cent and the GDP size estimated at Tk44.50 lakh crore. The revenue target is set at Tk4.33 lakh crore, while the budget deficit is Tk2.42 lakh crore or 5.4 per cent of GDP. The average inflation in the budget was kept at 5.6 per cent.
Budget’s highest priority is to tame inflation: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told Parliament that the budget has given the highest priority to rein in inflation in the fiscal year beginning on July 1. “I think the budget has been able to give the highest priority to firmly face (control high) inflation created due to the current global instability and the pandemic,” she said. The premier was speaking during the general discussion on the national budget for FY2022-23 as the Leader of the House in the 18th session of the 11th Parliament. She said the government has been able to give such a large budget of Tk 6,78064 crore despite an adverse situation caused by the Ukraine war that came close on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Many people couldn’t think that we would be able to place it (the budget), but we’ve been able to do it,” he said, extending her sincere thanks to the finance minister and all others involved in the budget preparation. It is the 23th national budget placed by the Awami League government since the Liberation War and the 4th budget given during the current tenure of AL government, she noted. “We’ll be able to implement the budget, placed for the 2022-23 fiscal year, successfully with an all-out support of the people,” said Hasina. She said Bangladesh will have to go forward overcoming the adverse impacts of the war and coronavirus pandemic and it will be able to do so. “We’re making the impossible things possible by overcoming hundreds of obstacles at home and abroad, '' she said. Bangladesh has successfully been able to maintain its economic progress when many developed countries are facing difficulties due to global instability, she added. READ: PM: Connectivity is key to national development She said the government is taking all necessary measures to control inflation fuelled by price-hike of goods in the global market. The PM said the main strategy to keep the inflation under control would be -- raising the supply of goods and reducing the existing growth of demand. “To reduce inflation is our big target,” she added. She said this week’s opening of the Padma Bridge to vehicular traffic is easing the supply of goods largely and will also help reduce the inflation rate because of a revolutionary change in the communication network. Noting that the government is discouraging the import of luxury goods, the PM urged businesspeople to stop importing items which are not very essential. PM Hasina said the government will take proper measures to reduce dependency on imported goods. In this context, she urged all to go for the consumption of made-in-Bangladesh products and services. Nothing to worry about foreign exchange reserve: PM Sheikh Hasina said the country’s reserve of foreign currency has declined as the import of goods, largely capital machineries and fertilizers, went up after the Covid-19 restrictions. She said the country will be benefited when the capital machineries are installed and the related industries go in operation. So, there is nothing to worry about it,” she added. Though the reserve of dollars has declined slightly for this, it is not an alarming matter, said the prime minister, adding that the reserve came down to US$ 41.2 billion from US$ 48 billion during the Covid-19 pandemic. She said the government has taken a number of measures to control the foreign exchange rate. The government enhanced the import duty on luxury goods, suspended the foreign trips of the government officers and employees, strengthened the Bangladesh Bank’s monitoring on illegal stock of dollars, and enhanced cash incentive to 2.5 per cent on remittance inflow in legal channels, she mentioned. She said the government is not imposing the increased prices of fuels, electricity and gas on the people rather providing these at subsidized rates. But the amount of the subsidy is very high, she added. Padma Bridge is symbol of our dignity: Hasina Citing that the Padma Bridge was constructed with own fund of Bangladesh, Hasina said the bridge is the symbol of the heroic ability of the Bengali nation. She again extended her sincere thanks and gratitude to the people of Bangladesh. “Their courage is my only resource,” she added. Talking about the fresh wave of Covid-19 infection, the premier asked the people to follow the health protocols, as they did in the past, and receive the boaster doses of vaccines in order to retain the success of Bangladesh in facing the pandemic. About the graduation of Bangladesh from a least developed country, she hoped that Bangladesh will be able to overcome the post-graduation challenges with remarkable success. “I hope that Bangladesh will set an example for development as a developing country across the world,” she added. Master plan on blended education to be taken: Sheikh Hasina said the government will put further importance to the standard technical and vocational education with a view to create skilled manpower in the country. “We’ll take a master plan on blended education…. We’ve started to prepare a plan for blended education,” she said. The PM said the government has taken a plan to increase the ICT-based employment to 30 lakh people by 2025 About the recent flood, she said there will be a fund of Tk 5000 crore to face disasters in the upcoming fiscal year. The government will also provide cash support to the flood-hit people whose houses were damaged, she said.
GM Quader opposes scheme to whiten black money in budget
Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Tuesday opposed the proposal to whiten black money, or legalising smuggled money by paying tax on it in the proposed budget. "The finance minister has recognised money laundering as a good deed," he said. Quader, also Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, said this while participating in the general discussion on the proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal. Quader said that The finance minister used to deny money laundering. "But with this proposal, he has not only recognized money laundering, he has recognized this act as a good deed." Criticizing the budget proposal to legalize money laundering through paying certain amount of tax, GM Quader said that Illegal money will be legalized only if taxes are paid. "This will not eliminate bad people and nurture good ones. Rather it will encourage bad people and oppress good ones." Also Read: New budget ambitious:GM Quader He said that This is against good governance. "We can never support it. I don't think money launderers will bring their money back [to the country].” He said that the government rather should take measures to prevent money laundering and to bring the money launderers under punishment. Referring to the proposed budget as a debt-based deficit budget, Quader said that This budget is as usual and ambitious. "Expenditure has increased in all sectors of the budget but no vision has been seen.” He mentioned that this huge budget is unusual given the instability and economic downturn caused by the Covi-19 and ongoing Ukraine war. "I don't think it will be possible to materialize the development budget. The promise of controlling inflation does not seem to be possible, rather it may increase.” He feared that it would not be possible to collect revenue as per the target. He demanded the introduction of retirement allowance for MPs. Meanwhile, opposing the proposal of giving scope to bring back the laundered money, Gono Forum MP Mokabbir Khan said that this proposal is immoral and illegal. "Giving the traitors a chance to bring back the smuggled money cannot be supported in any way. Steps should have been taken to prevent money laundering abroad.”
Commoners more interested in living standards than governance: Planning Minister Mannan
The commoners are less interested in governance; all they want is a good standard of living, which the Awami League has ensured, Planning Minister MA Mannan said Friday. "The road to governance is very long. We have to understand what the commoners want in the first place," he added. Mannan was addressing the seminar "National Budget and Economic Pathway" organised by The Centre for Governance Studies at a city hotel. At the event, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, former minister and standing committee member of the BNP, said: "Politicisation is taking over the economy, which is a symbol of an authoritarian government." "Inequality is rising as the government is patronising its own people for its political interests," he added. There are contradictions in the budget process, Dr Muhammad Abdul Mazid, former chairman of the National Board of Revenue, said. "The scope for discussion is also limited." Also read: Social stability a must to implement budget: Planning Minister
All citizens aged 18-50 can join universal pension scheme: Cabinet clears a draft law
The Cabinet on Monday cleared the draft of Universal Pension Management Act, 2022 in order to bring the growing elderly population under a sustainable and social safety net. The approval came at the cabinet meeting held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at her office here. “All Bangladeshi nationals aged from 18 to 50 years can participate in this pension scheme. And the expatriate Bangladeshis can also take part in it. They (expatriates) can get registered and provide premium,” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam while briefing reporters at the Bangladesh Secretariat. He said the Finance Division has placed the draft of Universal Pension Management Act, 2022 aiming to bring the growing elderly population under a sustainable social safety net for the causes of unemployment, disease, paralysis, old age or other similar conditions, or penury amid the high life expectancy rate. Anwarul Islam said the Cabinet gave the final approval to the draft law on condition of vetting by the Legislative Division. “If the legislative Division will okay it, then it will go to parliament,” he said. Also read: Gender budget framework needs to be redesigned, say discussants at a pre-budget dialogue As per the draft law, a person will have to provide premium for at least 10 years to get pension from the age of 60 until his death, said Anwarul. If an elderly person dies before the age 75 years, the nominee will get the pension for the remaining time, he said citing an example that if anyone dies at 62, his/her nominee will get pension for 13 years. However, the amount of premium will be determined by a rule under the proposed law, he added. According to the proposed law, there will be a five-member national pension authority headed by a chairman and also a 15-member governing body with the finance minister as its chair, said the Cabinet Secretary. In February last, PM Hasina directed the authorities concerned to work out a universal pension scheme for the people aged above 60 and those who worked in the informal sector in line with the election manifesto of Bangladesh Awami League. She also witnessed a presentation of "Introduction of Universal Pension System '' which was made by the Finance Division. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has recently announced a plan to introduce a Universal Pension Scheme in the country from the upcoming fiscal year of 2022-23. He said the implementation of the universal pension scheme will bring a large number of citizens from both the formal and informal sectors under the institutional social safety net. Besides, the Cabinet in principle approved the draft of the Press Council (Amendment) Act, 2022 with a provision of monetary fine for fake journalism. But the amount of fine will depend on the discretion of the press council as the cabinet turned down a proposal for keeping a fixed amount of fine for harming or breaking the security of the State, public order and morality. “The Cabinet rejected the proposal of a fixed fine …. Instead, it has been kept on discretion (of the press council),” said the Cabinet Secretary. He, however, said the draft law will come back to the Cabinet as it didn’t get the final approval yet. The proposed law was designed bringing amendment to the existing law of 1974 with a view to improve and maintain the standard of the newspapers and news agencies as well as remove false journalism, he said. In reply to a question, Anwarul said the news agencies mean all print and digital media. The council can voluntarily take offenses in cognizance, he said. There will be a 17-member press council instead of the existing 14-member one as per the draft law, he said. Moreover, the Cabinet cleared a proposal for Bangladesh to sign and ratify Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published works for persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted in 2013 in Marrakesh, Morocco by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to address the widespread problem known as a “book famine,” the situation where few books are published in formats that are accessible to those who are blind or visually impaired. Moreover, the Cabinet cancelled its previous decision over the formation of Sovereign Wealth Fund, which was taken in 2015. Also read:Russia-Ukraine war creates uncertainties: Kamal on upcoming national budget