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.
Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque on Friday said enough allocation was given for the agriculture sector in the proposed national budget of 2021-22 fiscal year. “I feel no deficit in the allocation to operate our activities. We’ve been given enough allocation,” he said at a virtual post-budget press conference. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal also addressed the press conference arranged a day after he placed the proposed budget in Parliament. The Agriculture Minister said though the allocation for agriculture declined in terms of percentage, it did fall in amount. The amount of agriculture loans was Tk 14,000 crore to Tk 15,000 crore in the past, which has increased at some Tk 22,000 crore in the upcoming fiscal year during the corona-period. And the interest rate of the loans was lowered, he said. He said the government had given the highest priority to agriculture also during its first tenure after assuming power in 2009. Also read: New budget unveiled with focus on protecting lives and livelihoods Abdur Razzaque said the agriculture production has significantly increased. “So, now the goals of the government are to sustain productivity and to boost production further,” he said. Since Bangladesh attained self-sufficiency in food, now another goal of the government is to expedite agricultural mechanisation and commercialization of agricultural products through promoting food-processing industry in the country, he said. “The production in all the agricultural sub-sectors went up. Now we’ll go for processing the agricultural products in mills and factories and then supply to local market and export to international market. Such measures have been taken in this budget,” said the Minister. He said the Agriculture Ministry started implementation of a Tk 3000-crore project for agricultural mechanisation to reduce the production cost amid the high wages of agricultural workers as the farmer don’t make profit in many cases now. In this budget, Tk 680 crore has been allocated for the project implementation in the upcoming fiscal year, he said. Also read: New budget: Tracking prices going up and down “The budgetary allocation for agriculture is good enough. There will be no problem with (this allocation),” he said. If needed, there is an instruction of the Prime Minister to allocate more funds to agriculture from any other sector except health, said the Agriculture Minister. Planning Minister MA Mannan, PM’s Economic Affair Dr Mashiur Rahman, Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir, Senior Secretary of Finance Division Abdur Rouf Talukder, National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, among others, spoke at the conference.
The government allocation for public expenditure on goods and services will witness a significant rise in the coming years after a slight dip in the last couple of years. The government has estimated to spend Tk 401.3 billion, which is 6.6% of the budget, for public expenditure in the coming 2021-22 fiscal. The country is likely to get Tk 5933.14 billion budget for 2021-22 fiscal, Tk 253.14 billion higher than the running one, aiming to face the COVID-19 pandemic challenge for recovering the economy. Read BSMMU announces Tk 602.73cr budget for FY 2020-21 The estimation for 2022-23 fiscal has been set at Tk 465.2 billion, which will be 6.7% of the budget. According to an official document, the allocation for the purpose in the running 2020-21 fiscal is Tk 350 billion or 6.1% of the budget. The document also reads that the government has estimated to bring down its expenditure in current account, including purchase of product and service, while increase the capital expenditure in the next two fiscals. It said that the current expenditure for 2021-22 and 2022-23 fiscal has been estimated at 54.4% and 54.5% of the total budget respectively. Also read: Spending on public servants' remuneration to witness uptick from next fiscal As per the document, the government allocation for expenditure can be divided in current expenditure and capital expenditure. Salaries and allowances of government employees, purchase of product and service, compensation and relocation expenses, payment of interest against foreign and domestic loans - these are all found under the current expenditure category. Besides, ‘food accounts’ and ‘expense for structural coordination’ are also under this expenditure. On the other hand, capital expenditure is spending that leads to the creation of new productive assets and inclusion. It is akin to investment, so government-funded projects and project components in the annual development programme (ADP), as well as non-ADP capital expenditure are the two main categories for capital expenditure. Also read: Stop unnecessary expenditure of public money: PM Besides, loans and advance payments, development programmes from revenue budget, projects outside the ADP and non-ADP Food for Work programme and handover expenses fall under this expenditure. The document stated that in the revised budget for the 2019-20 fiscal, the allocation for public expenditure on products and services was Tk 322.1 billion, that is 6.5% of the budget. It also mentioned that in 2018-19 fiscal the allocation was Tk 285.7 billion which was 7.3% of the budget that year. In four previous fiscals i.e. 2017-18, 2016-17, 2015-16 and 2014-15 respectively, the allocations were Tk 234.8 billion (7.3% of budget), Tk 205.49 billion (7.6%), Tk 182.05 billion (7.6%) and Tk 166.27 billion (8%). Read 'Unimplementable' budget to cause public sufferings: BNP The document said that from 2014-15 fiscal to 2018-19 fiscal the allocation for public expenditure in product and service was near about 8%. Due to various government steps, like enhancement of transparency through introducing E-GP, development in public procurement management and others, the allocation for this sector can be delineated in the government budget process, the document said. Meanwhile, amid the Coronavirus crisis, the government is working according to what it believes to be 'a comprehensive plan' with four main strategies. The 4-pronged strategy entails discouraging luxury expenditures, prioritising government spending that creates jobs, creating loan facilities through commercial banks at subsidised interest rates for the affected industries and businesses, and finally expanding the coverage of the government’s social safety net programmes. Read Govt aims to rein in budget deficit back within 5% from next fiscal
As COVID-19 has potentially triggered an economic slowdown which may lead to a possible fund crunch in the coming days, the government has planned to put its ongoing development projects in three prioritised categories for monitoring and budget allocation in the next fiscal (2020-21). The three categories are: high priority, medium priority and low priority ones. "The government has made the list aiming to have a better monitoring on the ongoing projects under the ADP which we had not done since 2009," Planning Minister MA Mannan told UNB. In the past, he said, the government used to give importance to all of its projects equally and there were some mega projects, too. "Nationally, mega projects used to get attention. This time, the priorities have been categorised just because of the coronavirus (and its impact on the economy). Normally, it was not supposed to be like this," the minister said. MA Mannan said the government has to move forward with the prioritised approach while implementing the ADP. "We’ll allocate for the high priority projects first -- like health and agriculture sector. These sectors will get the highest attention," he said. Talking about the ongoing mega projects of the government, he said the projects like Padma Bridge and Metro Rail have become part of the national psyche. "People are waiting with high hopes to see these projects implemented…we cannot reduce focus from these, not at all, and we won’t do it either," he said. The bureaucrat-turned-politician, however, said if the current situation prolongs then the government has to review the projects under these three categories from time to time. According to sources at the Planning Ministry, the size of the proposed ADP for 2020-21 fiscal will be Tk 205,145 crore where the number of the projects will be around 1,500.