Opposition Jatiya Party, BNP and Gono Forum lawmakers on Thursday slammed the government for what they said deplorable condition in the election commission, education system, law and order and widespread corruption in health sector. A total of twelve lawmakers of the opposition bench came down heavily on Education Minister Dipu Moni, Law Minster Anisul Haq who is in charge of the election commission and parliamentary affairs, Health Minister Zahid Maleque and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal while participating in the discussion on passage of the proposed budget for 2022-23. Jatiya Party MP Chunu launched the blistering attack on the education minister saying an anarchic situation is prevailing in the sector. He said students are showing muscle power in different educational institutions under the patronization of a section of teachers. “Teachers are being humiliated by their own students. So that the environment at the country’s education institutions has been ruined,” he added. The JP MP said, there is no monitoring by University Grants Commission of alleged mismanagement and irregularities in private and public universities. “I see lots of people around me who have degree on BBA, MBA. But there is no quality of education in them,” he added. Pointing to the brutal killing of a college teacher in Savar and humiliating a teacher at Narail, another JP MP Kazi Firoz Rashid questioned, what is happening in educational institutions today? Education institutions are giving degrees to students but they are not preparing students as proper human beings, he also said. READ: Parliament passes new national budget by voice vote He also said vice chancellors are being appointed at the universities on political consideration. BNP MP Harunur Rashid said, “Quality of education and the teachers have fallen to all time record low at present,” he also said. Describing the sorry state of the country’s education system, Harun said, not a single university of Bangladesh has been placed in the international ranking. All the opposition MPs blasted the government for insufficient allocation in the proposed budget in education sector comparing to the neighboring countries. On behalf of the education minister, agriculture minister Abdur Razzaque told parliament that the present situation will not improve overnight. “It will take time to improve the situation. I do hope, we will be able to bring positive change if we work hard and remain united,” he said. Razzaque also ruled out the allegations that the private universities are running without control of the government. BNP MP Harunur Rashid said when people's confidence in the Election Commission and the electoral system is destroyed, democratic institutions are destroyed. In the last 10 years, people have no confidence on the EC. He said not the EC, but police and the local administration are holding elections at present. In order to bring the BNP to the polls, a neutral government must be formed during the elections. There must be free, fair and neutral elections. Another BNP MP Rumeen Farhana said, the Election Commission has been destroyed under the present government and voting under the present EC cannot be free and fair. JP MP Shameem Haider Patwari said democracy means elections. The Election Commission has been empowered for holding fair voting. But the vote held in a questionable manner. The EC are now toothless tigers. He proposed formation of electoral police under the Election Commission. Another JP MP Raushan Ara Mannan said the election will be fair if the current election commission works properly. Law Minster Anisul Haq who is in charge of the Election Commission in parliamentary affairs, refuted all the allegations of the opposition MPs. He said BNP is saying that they will not participate in the election without caretaker government. “But I want to say that the government will not go beyond a single inch of the highest court of the country as the court as declared the caretaker government illegal,” he added. He said BNP can participate in the polls if they want to. BNP MPs told the House that police are now engaged to ensure security of Awami League men, they are not engaged in the welfare of people. BNP MP Harunur Rashid said a terrifying environment is prevailing in the country. Enforced disappearance, extrajudicial killings have not stopped. Rumeen Farhana said the government is preparing a blue print centering the next national election. One of the signs in this regard is that the government has not renewed the registration of Odhikar, a rights organization. JP MP Mujibul Haque said there were many questions about the corruption of some police officers. Many officials live a luxurious life in Gulshan and Banani. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan in reply to the criticism said, members of police who are committing misdeeds are not being given exemption. Starting from a DIG, many members are now in jail. He also said the government is taking various measures for ensuring better services of law enforcement agencies. Almost all the opposition MPs blasted the health minister for widespread corruption in the health sector specially in purchasing of various medical equipment. They also said people have almost no confidence on the health system of the country due to massive irregularities and that’s why well-off people are rushing abroad for getting treatment. Zahid Maleque said that no one in the country died in the Covid-19 situation without treatment as the government succeed to ensure treatment for all. Responding MPs' criticism that a huge number of people are going abroad for treatment due to poor health services at home, the minister said that there is no reason of taking treatment abroad. ‘Some people are coming to Bangladesh from America to take treatment here,’ he said. He also said that the government did not procure any unnecessary medical equipment.
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has urged the government to withdraw the proposed budgetary provision of allowing launderers to legalise their undeclared money, saying such provision will discourage genuine taxpayers. It is immoral, discriminatory and conflicts with the existing laws to allow legalising laundered money from abroad without questioning, announced in the national budget for FY2022-23, the graft watchdog body said in a statement on Friday. Also read: Law bars asking questions about laundered money: Finance Minister But, according to the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012 and the relevant international law, money laundering is a serious crime and such provision will encourage money laundering and corruption in general, said TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman. It is expected this provision will increase the foreign exchange flow and income tax revenue through the integration of money and assets earned abroad into the mainstream of the country's economy, he said. “But our past experience has shown that despite repeated opportunities to whiten black money in the country's economy, it has not yielded the expected results, nor has the government received the desired revenue.” It is impossible to bring back this laundered money or assets without a legal assistance agreement of our country with the authorities concerned in the country where the money is laundered, said Iftekharuzzaman. Besides, for those who are genuine taxpayers, the provision is blatantly discriminatory, as they pay at least three times the tax rate of 7 percent. This is discrimination and against the principles of the constitution, he added. In the proposed budget, the finance minister acknowledged the existing economic crises such as inflation, holding the value of the Taka against the dollar, increasing import costs and declining foreign exchange reserves, but could not provide effective strategies or guidelines to address them, he said. Also read: Budget FY23: Laundered money to be legalized by 7-15 pc tax The TIB executive director said although there is an expectation to expand social security programmes to reduce inflationary pressures on marginalised and low-income people, the proposed budget does not show much. “Rather, it has been shown to include government employees' pensions, interest on savings certificates, and loan waivers that were provided during Covid pandemic in order to maximize spending on the social security sector, which are not part of the Social Security programme."
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said the government is obliged by a law that those who will bring back their laundered money home will not be questioned any more. Defending his move, announced in the national budget for FY2022-23, he said most of such money is undeclared and smuggled out due to the faulty system. He made this remark while addressing a post-budget press conference at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city on Friday. Also read: Budget offers no good news for lower, middle income groups: CPD Fielding a volley of questions on the issue, he said many countries in Asia, America and Europe have declared amnesty for the money launderers. According to a provision declared in the newly placed national budget, no authority, including the income tax collectors, shall raise any question as to the source of any asset located abroad if a taxpayer pays extra taxes on such assets. The proposed rate is 15 per cent for immovable property not repatriated to Bangladesh, 10 per cent for movable property not repatriated to Bangladesh and 7 per cent for cash and cash equivalents repatriated to Bangladesh. This will take effect from July 1. A question was asked by a reporter that in the past the government had declared a "Truth Commission" and provided scope for legalising illegal money through paying tax, but later the names of the persons who took the opportunity were disclosed. So, how could people trust the new assurance and take the opportunity? Answering the question, Kamal said the government will use some tools so that people will be encouraged to bring the smuggled illegal money back. "But this will not discourage or undermine those people who regularly pay taxes", he added. Supporting his view Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzak, who present on the occasion, supported the government move in this regard and said that the Truth Commission was formed during the caretaker government which was a non-constitutional government. "But Awami League is a constitutional government and the relevant law is passed by the government to give the guarantee to the people not to raise any question in future", he added. The finance minister claimed that the newly unveiled national budget will bring benefits for all the segments of the society, specially, for the poor. "I was born in a poor family and raised up from poverty. So, I do feel the pain of the poor", he said, adding that so many measures including allocation for social safety-net programmes were increased in the new budget.
The Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a private think-tank, has found no good news for lower and middle-income groups in the newly announced budget, voicing doubt about government’s ability to lower the inflation rate at 5.6 per cent. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal placed the budget for FY2022-23 expecting inflation rate to come down to 5.6 per from over 6.29 per cent (in April as per BBS). Also read: Budget to make economy stronger: Finance Minister Experts and economists believe the inflation has hit over 10 per cent. As a result, lower, middle class and fixed income groups will face challenges to run a family as the commodity prices are unlikely to come down if the inflation trend remains higher. The CPD made the observation at a press conference in a city hotel on Friday, a day after presentation of Bangladesh’s national budget of Tk6.78 trillion for the upcoming fiscal year starting from July 1. “The prices of all kinds of goods including fuel oil and food products are increasing in the international market. Commodity prices have been rising in the world market since the Covid-19 situation began to normalize,” said Dr Fahmida Khatun, executive director of CPD. She said, "The budget has not taken adequate steps to reduce the prices of essential commodities. It was necessary to reduce the prices of 29 commodities including rice and pulses, but it did not happen. The CPD had recommended a reduction in taxes to reduce the prices of commodities. But that too was not kept.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said the dream project Padma Bridge will lead to an unprecedented improvement in the communication system connecting the capital with the southern part of the country. “As a result of the bold steps taken by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, it has been possible to complete the construction work of the 6.15 km long Padma Bridge with the own funds of the government of Bangladesh,” he told Parliament while placing the national budget for the fiscal year – 2022-2023. Also read: Finance Minister starts unveiling Tk 678,064 cr national budget The bridge is expected to be opened to traffic on June 25. With a view to building transport and communication systems that support industry and trade in the country, the government is implementing a number of mega projects, one of which is the Padma Bridge, said the finance minister. Another project, construction of 3.32 km Bangabandhu Shiekh Mujibur Rahman tunnel under the Karnaphuli River, is about to be completed and the tunnel is expected to be opened to traffic by December 2022, he said.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has started unveiling the Tk 678,064 crore national budget for the financial year 2022-2023 with special focus on economic recovery from uncertainties caused by Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. The finance minister began rolling out proposed budget at the Jatiya Sangsad at 3:00 pm on Thursday. This is the fourth time Mustafa Kamal is presenting the national budget. This is the country’s 51st budget and the 23rd of the Awami League government in five terms. Also read: Cabinet approves national budget for FY2022-23
The Cabinet at a special meeting on Thursday approved the proposed national budget for the fiscal year 2022-23. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting held at the cabinet room of the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and other Cabinet ministers and state ministers concerned attended the meeting. The finance minister is set to unveil the proposed national budget for the 2022-23 fiscal this afternoon, after the authentication of the budget by the President. Also read: Gender budget framework needs to be redesigned, say discussants at a pre-budget dialogue AHM Mustafa Kamal is scheduled to start unveiling his budget of 6.80 lakh crore at the Jatiya Sangsad at 3:00 pm. Also read:Russia-Ukraine war creates uncertainties: Kamal on upcoming national budget This is the country’s 51st budget and the 23rd of the Awami League government in five terms.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is set to place the national budget of Tk 6.80 trillion ( 6.80 lakh crore) in the Jatiya Sangsad for FY2022-2023 on Thursday. The size of the budget will be about 15 percent of the country's gross domestic product or GDP. This is the country’s 51st budget and the 23rd of the Awami League government in five terms. The budget will see special measures of tax exemptions on agriculture, food processing and small sector development. Also read: Gender budget framework needs to be redesigned, say discussants at a pre-budget dialogue The revenue collection target set for NBR is Tk 4.33 trillion, an increase of 9 per cent from the revenue target of the current fiscal year and annual development program (ADP) is set at Tk2.44 trillion. Experts emphasize on having measures to control growing inflation, stabilise foreign exchange rate and steps to ensure food security. Tajuddin Ahmed presented the first budget as the first finance minister of the post-independence Bangabandhu government in 1972. In the upcoming budget, the target of GDP growth is set at 7.5 per cent and inflation will be kept at 5.5 per cent. In the proposed budget, the expectation of GDP is set 7.5 percent – around Tk44.50 trillion (Tk 44 lakh 50 thousand crore, which is Tk14 trillion more than the FY22, finance division sources said. The GDP size in FY 22 was Tk28.34 trillion or Tk 28.34 lakh crore. The government policy makers believe in the FY23, three major infrastructures of the country will help in achieving the GDP growth despite projection of decline in global economy due to Russia-Ukraine war. Officials concerned think that three big mega projects will be launched in FY 23. The dream Padma Bridge will be opened on June 25. This will open new doors for business and trade, which will have a positive impact on the economy. The ministry officials said development of power, energy, communications and transport sectors will also boost growth following completion of these three mega projects. The impact of the development of these sectors will play an important role in achieving the growth of other sectors including industry. Naturally, importance is being given to agriculture for achieving growth. Therefore, emphasis is laid on ensuring supply of agricultural inputs and maintaining subsidy. Growth is expected to be accelerated if the ongoing reforms in various sectors (revenue sector and Investment) are implemented, they said. According to the finance division, the prices of food, fuel and fertilizer have risen sharply due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Farmers are getting it at a lower price as the government is subsidizing fertilizer. A plan has been taken to give a subsidy of Tk 12,000 crore in agriculture in the next financial year as well. Also read:Russia-Ukraine war creates uncertainties: Kamal on upcoming national budget The implementation of incentive packages in the new budget will also be continued. This will add to the sector based GDP. In this context, the former caretaker government's finance adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam told UNB that if there is no growth, there will be stagnation in the economy. “Poverty must be reduced by ensuring employment by increasing the coverage of social safety net programs,” he said. Dr. M. Masrur Reaz, economist and Chairman, Policy Exchange of Bangladesh said the budget faces challenges to keep a stable exchange rate of forex and import trade inflation. The budget should have measured inflation as well as price control of commodities and the health sector by developing institutional capacity of government entities. The government set an ambitious revenue collection target of Tk4.33 trillion, comfortably the highest ever, although meeting this target has never been the point. The national board of revenue (NBR), a wing of the internal resources division (IRD), usually collects revenue for the government. The upcoming budget is set to have a Tk4.33 trillion revenue target that is Tk 44000 crore more than the target in the budget for the current fiscal and 9.8 percent of GDP. As per the calculation, the budget deficit would stand at Tk2.44 trillion that is 5.5 per cent of GDP. According to sources at the finance ministry, the government would borrow Tk128,341 crore from the domestic sources and Tk1,16,523 crore from abroad to meet the deficit in the proposed budget. Of the domestic borrowing, Tk 93,889 crore would be taken from the banking system while Tk 34,452 crore from savings certificates.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said he faces the pressure of external vulnerabilities in the economy in preparing the national budget for FY2022-23. "...But only pressure is the uncertainties and external vulnerabilities due to the war (Russia-Ukraine)”, he told reporters while briefing about the outcomes of the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP) on Wednesday. Also read: Govt mulls amnesty to bring back laundered money: Finance Minister The National Budget for FY2022-23 is slated to be placed in Parliament on June 9. He said that after the Covid-19 pandemic when the economy was trying to recover from the shock, the Russia-Ukraine war started which created huge vulnerabilities and uncertainties globally. “Every country in the world has to face the challenges of the vulnerabilities and they are under pressure”, he said adding that these uncertainties and vulnerabilities will create opportunities as well. “We don’t war anymore. We want the war to stop immediately”, he said. Kamal said his main focus in the budget will be recovering the economy from the uncertainties and vulnerabilities. “We’ll try to bring dynamism in the economy”. Responding to a question on the CPD’s observation that the country’s financial sector is led by a weak leadership, the finance minister said Bangladesh has been the best country in the world in economic management. Also read: Finance minister directs regulators to boost investment in stock market “The way we run the economy in a crisis situation, the administrative efficiency we showed, it’s best compared with the other countries”, he claimed. He, however, refused to disclose the main thrusts of the national budget. “Just wait…You will see when the budget is placed in Parliament”. He hinted that strengthening the social safety-net programme will get a special focus in the upcoming budget.
Parliament on Monday passed the supplementary budget of Tk 13,987.27 crore for the fiscal 2020-21 to meet the increased expenditures under 19 different ministries and divisions.Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal placed the supplementary budget in the House on June 3 along with the national budget. Read: Poor, jobless people largely ignored in budget: BNPA total of Tk 568,000 crore was allocated in favour of 62 ministries and divisions in the budget of 2020-21 fiscal.In the supplementary budget, the expenditure for 19 ministries and divisions was increased by Tk 13,987.27 crore while the expenditures for 43 ministries and divisions was reduced by 42,481.87 crore.As a result, the budget allocations for these ministries and divisions were reduced by Tk 29,017 crore and the total allocation now stands at Tk 538,983 crore.On Monday, the Finance Minister moved the Supplementary Budget in the House following general discussions on it.Different ministries, divisions and institutions sought increased amount under 19 demands for grant. As many as 190 cut-motions were moved by 11 members. Read:New budget proposals inadequate in tackling poverty, say rights groupsDiscussions, however, were held on two cut-motions – on financial institutions division and health services division.These cut motions were brought by Jatiya Party MPs Kazi Firoz Rashid, Mujibul Huq, Fakhrul Imam, Rowshan Ara Mannan, Shamim Haider Patwary, Liaquat Hossain Khoka, BNP MPs Md Harunur Rashid, Rumin Farhana, Md. Mosharof Hosen and Gonoforum MP Mukabbir Khan and Independent MP Md. Rezaul Karim Bablu.However, those cut-motions were rejected by voice votes.The Local government Division got the highest allocation of Tk 2890.45 crore while the Rural Development and Cooperatives Division the lowest Tk 1.40 crore. Read: New budget underestimated impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, says SANEMThe Prime Minister’s Office got Tk 482.03 crore while the Cabinet Division Tk 9.70 crore, the Election Commission Secretariat Tk 79.09 crore, the Financial Institutions Division Tk 205.59 crore, the Planning Division Tk 242.75 crore, IMED Tk 6.74 crore, the Statistics and information Management Division Tk 142.84 crore, the Primary and Mass Education Ministry Tk 1005.15 crore, the Heath Services Division Tk 2850.48 crore, the Housing and Public Works Ministry Tk 489.37 crore, the Religious Affairs Ministry Tk 384.51 crore, the Industries Ministry Tk 565.37 crore, the Textile and Jute Ministry Tk 1905.68 crore, the Fisheries and Livestock Ministry Tk 332.78 crore, the Water Resources Ministry Tk 1039.99 crore, the Transportation and Highways Division Tk 676.62 crore and the Shipping Ministry Tk 676.66 crore.