Budget not based on IMF conditions: Finance Minister
Bangladesh's Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said that the national budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2023-24 was not based on the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). "Like in different countries, the IMF has come to Bangladesh and made some recommendations to help the economy. We took their prescriptions as per our needs, but did not follow them all in preparing the budget," he said while addressing a post-budget press conference at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city on Friday (June 2, 2023). He said the IMF is not helping the countries only by providing money, they also monitor the economy. This is good for the economy. Responding to a repeated number of questions on inflation and commodity price hike, the finance minister said the government is concerned about the rising trend in inflation. Read more: Unrealistic budget won’t help overcome economic crisis: Fakhrul "We're apprehensive about inflation, but it is not beyond our control. We cannot stop feeding the people," he said. He said the government is approaching in a flexible way to contain inflation. Through social safety-net programmes, the government has been providing food to poor people. "We're trying to identify the reasons for inflation and address those. If we need to give any concession, we will do that," he said. Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque, LGRD Minister Tajul Islam, Education Minister Dipu Moni, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Finance Secretary Fatima Yasmin, Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder, and National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Rahmatul Munim were among others also addressed on the occasion. Read more: CPD dismisses budget's projections on growth, inflation, revenue collection The Finance Minister claimed that the new budget was mainly focused on benefiting the poor people. "We have expanded our tax net so that more taxes could be collected. Everybody has to pay tax," he said, adding that like other budgets in the past this was also prepared targeting both the next election and the people. "We cannot separate the people or the election from our goal of the budget," he said. Responding to another question, he said that all the projections made in the previous budgets were implemented. Kamal said Bangladesh has been well placed in remittance earnings among the countries in the region. Read more: Budget 2023-24: Govt allocates Tk88,162 crore in education sector, up 8.2% After a downward trend, remittance earning is again increasing and we can meet five months of our import bill through our reserve. He said after some measures taken by the government, the inflow of remittance will gradually go up. At the press conference, with the request of the Finance Minister, Bangladesh Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder responded to a good number of questions, specially, on inflation, remittance and banking sector. He said that Bangladesh Bank will announce its monetary policy on June 19 where it will lay out the plan on containing inflation, and increasing remittance and reserve. He claimed that though the government's loan from the banking system is increasing, it will not push up inflation as the central bank is withdrawing more money from the market through selling dollars. Read more: Budget sets 7.5 percent annual economic growth, inflation at 6 percent
Budget 2023-24: Govt allocates Tk88,162 crore in education sector, up 8.2%
Finance Minister AHM Musatafa Kamal on Thursday (June 1, 2023) proposed an allocation of Tk 88,162 crore for the education sector in the national budget of Bangladesh for the fiscal year 2023-2024, up from Tk 81, 449 in the current fiscal. It's an increase of 8.2% over the last budget. In the proposed budget, Tk 34,722 crore was allocated against the Primary and Mass Education Ministry for 2023-24, which was Tk 31,761 crore in 2022-23, while Tk 42,838 crore against the Secondary and Higher education sector, which was Tk. 39,961 crore in 2022-23 and Tk 10,602 crore against the Technical and Madrasa Education Division, which was Tk. 9,727 crore in 2022-23. While unveiling the national budget, the minister said “We are decentralising education planning and management and implementing a 'School Level Improvement Plan (SLIP)' to enhance efficiency in primary education management.” Read more: Budget sets 7.5 percent annual economic growth, inflation at 6 percent Under this plan, the delegation of financial power has been restructured at the field level. An integrated education Programme has been launched to ensure education in mainstream government primary schools for all children of the society including children with special needs. Some 26,366 posts of teachers have been created in the pre-primary level of government primary school. Recruitment against a total of 32,577 posts including the newly created posts have been completed. Apart from the recruitment of the required number of teachers, primary school teachers are being trained on 5 core and 3 non-core subjects to increase the quality of education, he said. Besides, greater importance is being given to technology-based education to equip students for building a ‘Smart Bangladesh’, said the minister. Read more: Tax-free income limit increases to Tk3.5 lakh A total of 59,000 laptops, multimedia projectors and sound systems have been provided along with internet connectivity to more than 50,000 government primary schools to set up multimedia classrooms. Some 800 officers have been trained on ICT and more than 1 lakh teachers have been imparted hands-on training to create digital content. These teachers are creating digital content and teaching in the classrooms. As a result, classroom study is becoming interesting and the children are becoming more attentive in class, Kamal said. Meanwhile, special allocation is being given to schools for continuing teaching activities in schools in emergencies. The ongoing school feeding programme for more than 29 lakh students of 15,470 government primary schools in 104 upazilas of 35 districts of the country through the project titled 'School Feeding in Poverty-stricken Areas' has been completed recently. “We are continuing our efforts to transform educational institutions into modern and model institutions. A total of 351 secondary schools and 371 private colleges have been nationalized since 2009 to April 2023. As many as 315 private secondary schools located in upazila headquarters without government schools have been converted into model schools,” he said. Readmore: Finance Minister unveils Tk 761,785 crore national budget The construction work of 180 buildings has been completed for the government post-graduate colleges located at the district headquarters. Out of the 1,610 colleges selected under the private colleges’ development project, the construction of ICT-friendly buildings has been completed in 1,473 colleges. Under SESDP (Secondary Education Sector Development Plan), 33 model madrasas have been set up along with 62 new schools in underprivileged areas. At present, 176 academic buildings are being constructed to expand science education along with 33 hostels under the Expansion of Science Education in Government Colleges Project. A total of 33,285 multimedia classrooms and 11,307 computer labs have been set up in selected educational institutions since 2009 to enhance students’ proficiency in information technology and to modernize teaching methods. In addition, 64,925 multimedia classrooms and 12,000 labs will be set up in future. The digital content of 21 textbooks of primary level and the interactive digital text of 16 textbooks of class 6 have been completed and uploaded on the website. E-learning modules for 6 textbooks of class 7 and class 8 and e-learning material of 6 textbooks for class 9 and class 10 have been developed and uploaded. A total of 710 ICT learning centres have been set up in selected educational institutions. Read more: Curbing inflation without destabilising macroeconomic situation presents challenge for budget: Selim Raihan Audio-visual training content has been developed for teachers on classroom activities of all subjects of class 6 and 7 and training has been imparted to all teachers through open reading.
Budget sets 7.5 percent annual economic growth, inflation at 6 percent
The proposed budget of Bangladesh in the fiscal year 2023-24 has set an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GPD) worth of 50.06 lakh crore with a 7.5 percent annual growth. The inflation target was set to 6 percent which is now 9.28 percent in the proposed budget. The 7.5 percent growth projection could be deemed as ambitious given the uncertainties in the global economy and various other challenges at home. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal explained his position on why he is expecting higher growth this time despite the economic pressures. Read more: Finance Minister unveils Tk 761,785 crore national budget “We expect to return to a higher growth trajectory and achieve a 7.5 percent GDP growth, by way of investing in the productive sectors and stimulating productivity and domestic demand,” he said. Kamal focused on investment in the 100 special economic zones and completing ongoing mega-projects to achieve the GDP target. In FY19, Bangladesh achieved a record 8.15 percent GDP growth. Then came the pandemic. The finance minister set a growth target of 8.2 percent in FY20, but the actual growth achieved was 3.45 percent, the lowest in several decades. The growth rate increased to 6.94 percent in FY21 after recovering from pandemic effects. The GDP growth further increased to 7.1 percent in FY22. Read more: Budget FY23-24: Focus should be on tackling macroeconomic challenges, says Dr Atiur Rahman
Tax-free income limit increases to Tk3.5 lakh
Bangladesh's Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in his budget speech on Thursday (June 1, 2023) proposed to increase the tax-free income limit to Tk 3.5 lakh from the existing Tk 3 lakh for individual taxpayers for the fiscal year 2023-24.He also proposed the threshold for women and senior citizens above 65 years of age to Tk 4 lakh from Tk 3.5 lakh. Read more: Finance Minister unveils Tk 761,785 crore national budgetBesides, proposals have been placed for the physically challenged persons and third-gender taxpayers to extend their tax-free income limit to Tk 4.75 lakh from Tk 4.5 lakh and Tk 3.5 lakh respectively.The tax-free income ceiling for the war-wounded, gazetted freedom fighters will be Tk 5 lakh, up from Tk 4.75 lakh. The proposed tax rates and tax slabs for all categories of individual taxpayers except companies and local authorities are: no tax on first Tk 3.5 lakh, 5 percent tax on next Tk 1 lakh; 10 percent on next Tk 3 lakh; 15 percent on next Tk 4 lakh; 20 percent on next Tk 5 lakh and 25 percent income tax on the balance of total income. Read more: Budget sets 7.5 percent annual economic growth, inflation at 6 percent
Finance Minister unveils Tk 761,785 crore national budget
Bangladesh's Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has unveiled the national budget of Tk 761,785 crore for the fiscal year 2023–24. The finance minister rolled out the budget at the Jatiya Sangsad on Thursday (June 01, 2023). This is the 5th consecutive budget presented by the finance minister and last of the current Awami League government. The budget focuses on driving the country on an incremental economic-growth matching Bangladesh's LDC-graduation route and fulfilling the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan of $4.7 billion. Also read: Budget for FY 2023-24 to be placed on June 1 The proposed budget is 15.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Of the total proposed budget, Tk 475,281 crore is allocated for operating expenditures, and the rest, Tk 277,582 crore, for development purposes. The total revenue earnings target was set at estimated Tk 5 lakh crore, Of which, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) will collect Tk 4.30 lakh crore, and the rest will be collected from other sources. The proposed budget's overall deficit, including grants, will be Tk 257,885 crore, which is 5.2 per cent of the GDP. Read more: Budget FY23-24: Focus should be on tackling macroeconomic challenges, says Dr Atiur Rahman The inflation target is set to 6.5 percent though current inflation rate is over 9 percent.
BMTF to supply 3 crore blank smart cards to EC
Bangladesh Army-run Bangladesh Machine Tools Factory Limited (BMTF) will supply 3 crore blank smart cards to Bangladesh Election Commission (EC). Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP) in a meeting on Tuesday approved the proposal along with some others from different ministries. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presided over the virtual meeting. As per the proposal, the BMTF will supply the smart cards under the Identification System for Enhancing Access to Services (2nd Phase) project of the Arms Forces Division of the Prime Minister's Office at contract value of Tk 406.50 crore. Under other proposals, approved by the CCGP, state marketing agency Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) will import 12,500 metric tons (MT) of sugar and 1.10 crore litres of soybean oil for its ongoing programme to sell those in open market. Each kg of sugar will cost Tk 82.92 while the soybean oil will cost Tk 146.10 per litre Of these, Smart Matrix Pte., Ltd., Singapore (Local Agent: Mark Line Enterprise, Dhaka) will supply 12,500 MT of sugar at Tk 66.79 crore while the Guven Traders Ptv. Ltd., India (Local Agent: HH Enterprise, Dhaka) will supply 1.10 crore of soybean oil at Tk 148.30 crore. Supplier Smart Matrix Pte., Ltd., Singapore was selected for sugar supply through an international bidding process while the Guven Traders Ptv. Ltd., India, was chosen by the TCB through direct procurement method without any bidding process. The Cabinet body approved a number of proposals of the Roads and Highway Department (RHD) under the Roads Transport and Highway Division to award contracts for road constructions. Of these, the Joint Venture of (1) SRBG, China; and (2) and BTC, Bangladesh won a contract of the Lot No- DS-7 under Package No- WP-04 of the Project "Sasec Dhaka-Sylhet Corridor Road Development" at Tk 947.74 crore. The Joint Venture of (1) CSCEC7, China; and (2) Spectra Engineers Ltd., Bangladesh won the contract of the Lot No. DS-8 under Package No- WP-04 of the project “Sasec Dhaka-Sylhet Corridor Road Development” at Tk.1, 178.68 crore. The RHD selected Taher Brothers Ltd. to award the contract for “Upgradation of Gouripur-Anandganj-Madhupur-Dewanganj Bazar-Hosenpur District Highway to the proper standard” at a value of Tk 131. 47 crore. The RHD selected Joint Venture of (1) Mozahar Enterprise Pvt. Ltd., (2) National Development Engineers Ltd., and (3) Sagar Info Builders Ltd. for Package No. PW-01 of "Sherpur (Kanasakhola)-Bhimganj-Narayankhola-Rambhadrapur-Mymensingh (Rahmatpur) Road Development '' Project at Tk 149.99 crore. The Joint Venture of (1) National Development Engineers Ltd. , and (2) Hasan Techno Builders Ltd., has been selected by the RHD for the package No. PW-02 of the "Sherpur (Kanasakhola)-Bhimganj-Narayankhola-Rambhadrapur-Mymensingh (Rahmatpur) Road Development" at a contract value of Tk 180 crore. Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs at a meeting approved in principle a proposal of the Directorate General of Health Services to procure Firstline TB Drugs, Medical and Surgical Supplies and Laboratory Equipment from the Essential Drugs Company Limited through Direct Purchase Method (DPM) without bidding process. The drugs, services and equipment will be procured for the "Health and Gender Support in Cox's Bazar District (2nd Revised)"project under the United Nations Office for Project Services.
Foreign aid for national budget drops: Finance Minister
The foreign assistance for the national budget has declined to US$ 2.23 billion in the current fiscal year from US$ 3.26 billion in the last fiscal year (2021-22). Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Tuesday placed this statistics in Parliament while replying to a scripted question from Awami League lawmaker Morshed Alam (Noakhali-2). In the written answer, the minister said the government received assistance equivalent to some US$ 3.26 billion from different development partners for the budget in the last fiscal year. But there is a possibility to get the assistance equivalent to US$ 2.23 billion in the current fiscal year. Also read: 1st quarter performance of FY22-23 budget satisfactory: Finance Minister Responding to questions from ruling party MPs Kazim Uddin Ahmed (Mymensingh-11), the Finance Minister said there is currently no plan to increase the interest rate on family savings certificates. But the interest rate on savings certificates may be revised considering the investment situation. In response to a question from Mamunur Rashid Kiran (Noakhali-3), Mustafa Kamal said the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has been working to accomplish 100 percent of the revenue collection target. The NBR expects that the target will be fully achieved by the end of the fiscal year, he said.
Finance Minister places names of top 20 loan defaulters in JS
The total amount of debt to the top 20 defaulters is Tk 19,283.93 crore while the amount of defaulted loan is Tk 16,587. 92 crore. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal divulged the amount in parliament on Tuesday responding to a tabled question from ruling Awami League MP Shahiduzzaman Sarker. The finance minister placed the list the names of top 20 loan defaulters, amount of total debt and the amount of defaulted loans to them. He also informed the House that the total number of defaulters in the country is 7,86,065. According to the list, among the top 20 loan defaulters, the debt status of CLC Power Company Limited is Tk 1,732.92 crore while their defaulted debt is 1,649.44 crore. The debt status and amount of defaulted loan of 19 others are: Western Marine Shipyard Ltd, Tk 1,855.39 crore, defaulted debt, 1529.74 crore; Remex Footwear Ltd, Tk 1,077.63 crore, all those amount are defaulted loans; Rising Steel Company Ltd, 1,142.76 crore, defaulted debt, Tk 990.28 crore; Mohammad Elias Brothers (Pvt.) Ltd, Tk 965.60 crore, all those amount are defaulted loans. Rupali Composite Leather Wire Ltd.'s status and amount of defaulted loans are the same. Their defaulted debt is Tk 873. 29 lakh. Crescent Leathers Products Ltd.'s status and amount of defaulted loans is Tk 855.22 crore. The status and amount of defaulted loans of Quantum Power Systems Ltd. is Tk 811.33 crore. The debt status of Saad Musa Fabrics Ltd. is Tk 1,131.83 crore, the amount of their defaulted loans is Tk 776.63 crore. The status of amount of BR Spinning Mills Ltd. and the amount of defaulted loans is Tk 721 Crore 43 Lakh. The debt status of SA Oil Refinery Ltd. is Tk 1,172.69 crore. The amount of their defaulted loans is Tk 703.53 crore. Debt status of Maisha Property Development Ltd. is Tk 686.14 crore. The amount of their defaulted loans is Tk 663.18 crore. Read more: JP’s Rustum Ali Faraji blasts Finance Minister for his silence on state of economy Debt status of Radium Composite Textile Ltd. is Tk 770.48 crore. The amount of their defaulted loans is Tk 660.42 crore. Debt status of Samannaz Super Oil Ltd. is Tk 1,130.68 crore. The amount of their defaulted loans is Tk 651.7 crore. Manha Precast Technology Ltd.'s debt status and defaulted debt amount is Tk 647.16 crore. Asian Education Ltd.'s debt status is Tk. 653 Crores. The amount of their defaulted loans is Tk 635.94 crore. Debt status of SM Steel Re-Rolling Mills Ltd. is Tk 888.71 crore. Their defaulted loan amount is 630.26 crore. The debt status of Apollo Steel Complex Ltd. is Tk 872.72 crore. The amount of their defaulted loans is Tk 623.34 crore. Debt Status of Ehsan Steel Re-Rolling Ltd. is Tk 624.27 crore. Their defaulted loans amount is Tk 590.23 crore and the debt status of Siddiqui Traders is Tk 670.68 crore while the amount of their defaulted loans is 541.20 crore. In response to a question from reserved seat lawmaker from ruling party Nazma Akhtar, the finance minister told the parliament that there is no plan to waive interest on agricultural loans. Mentioning the reason for this, the minister said that banks give loans to farmers with money collected from depositors. As depositors have to be paid interest, it is not possible for the bank to waive the interest on the loan given to the farmers. Responding to a question from lawmaker Habibur Rahman, Kamal said that no loan has been received so far from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the current financial year (2022-23) while negotiations with the IMF regarding a loan are ongoing. “A loan of 300 million US dollars has been received from the World Bank in the current financial year. This loan is repayable in 30 years with a grace period of five years,” he said. Read more: 1st quarter performance of FY22-23 budget satisfactory: Finance Minister Replying a question from the ruling party lawmaker elected from Chattogram Md Abdul Latif's question, the minister said that the Japanese government has released 921.61 million US dollars for the overall development of Bangladesh till December of the current financial year. To a question of Jatiya Party lawmaker Syed Abu Hussain referring to the fact that the tax revenue was less than the target in the last financial year, Kamal said that the desired revenue collection has failed due to the post-Covid economic recession, Russia-Ukraine war, global monetary policy and austerity policy. In response to another question of Latif, he highlighted the various initiatives of the government to reduce the dollar crisis in the parliament. He informed that domestic banking units (local banks) have been given the right to raise foreign currency funds from their offshore banking operations, which will remain in force till June 30, 2023. In order to ensure a sufficient supply of edible oil, chickpeas, pulses, peas, onions, spices, sugar and dates at a bearable level during the month of Ramadan, all these products have been given a 90-day delay payment system to import these products, said the finance minister. It will remain in force till March 31, 2023. He said that with the aim of facilitating trade with China, the opportunity to trade with the country’s currency has been provided.
World Bank a key partner of Bangladesh’s economic growth: Finance Minister
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Sunday praised the World Bank for its continued support towards Bangladesh’s development. He said Bangladesh's growth has increased by 74 times since 1972, and the World Bank had a role to play behind it. “After independence, the country's GDP growth was only $6.3 billion, which has now increased to $465 billion,” he said. Kamal said this while speaking as the chief guest as the World Bank and Bangladesh celebrated its 50 years of partnership at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in the capital on Sunday. Also Read: WB cuts Bangladesh growth target by 0.9 percent to 5.2 percent The Finance Minister also said that Bangladesh is currently the 35th largest economy, and the poverty rate has come down to 20 percent, per capita income increased to $2,824 and average life expectancy increased to 73 years. Also read: World Bank managing director to arrive in Dhaka Saturday Highlighting the future plans, the Finance Minister said, “Our next target will be to turn Bangladesh into an upper-middle income country by 2031, and a Smart Developed Bangladesh in 2041.” World Bank Managing Director (Operation) Axel van Trotsenbur, World Bank South Asian Region Vice President Martin Riser, Economic Relations Division Secretary Sharifa Khan, and World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Abdoulaye Seck, among others, spoke at the function.
Chunnu wants finance minister's view on reported corruption of MPs, WASA MD
Speaking in parliament, Jatiya Party MP Mujibul Haque Chunnu on Sunday placed a question for Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on whether news published in different media recently about overseas property and assets owned by Bangladeshis, including MPs, is true or false. He also demanded that the government investigate these matters. Chunnu was speaking on a point of order. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, however, was not present in the house. Chunnu said news was published that the WASA MD owns 23 houses in USA. Such questions are coming about two members of parliament as well. "I request the finance minister to tell us whether all these news are true or not. Because our foreign minister said earlier that there are many bureaucrats among those who are making their homes in Begum Para in Canada. There should be an inquiry into all these things. These allegations should be resolved,” Chunnu said. Also read: JP’s Rustum Ali Faraji blasts Finance Minister for his silence on state of economy Urging the finance minister to open his mouth on these issues, Chunnu said that different media are publishing such news ahead of the next election which is tarnishing the image of the government as well as their (JP's) image as the opposition party. The JP MP said such news is sending the wrong message among the people of the country that MPs and ministers earn hundreds of crores of taka and making houses in From in home and abroad. He said the finance minister should open his mouth about this. The Finance Ministry along with the Bangladesh Bank should conduct an investigation and make a clear statement on the matter, he added.