Dhaka – Bangladesh on Sunday passed the national budget with an allocation of over 5.231 trillion taka for 2019-20 financial year.
Lawmakers voted yes when Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal after a lengthy debate over the financial proposals sought passage of the national budget, which set a growth target of 8.2 per cent in the next fiscal beginning on July 1.
The Appropriations Bill, 2019 seeking a budgetary allocation of 6.42 billion taka to meet necessary development and non-development expenditures of the government was passed by voice vote.
The ministers concerned placed justifications for the expenditures by their respective ministries through 59 demands for grant.
Parliament rejected a total of only 483 cut motions that stood in the name of opposition and independent members on 59 demands for grants for different ministries.
Opposition lawmakers submitted the cut-motions. They were allowed to participate in discussion on the: Higher Secondary and Higher Education Division, Health Ministry, Local Government Division, Disaster Management Ministry and Railways Ministry.
Later, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury applied a guillotine to hasten the process of passing the demands for grants for different ministries.
Opposition and independent MPs were present in the House when the Appropriation Bill was passed and they did not raise a voice against passing the bill.
Kamal on June 13 unveiled the national budget tiled ‘Bangladesh on a Pathway to Prosperity: Time is Ours, Time for Bangladesh’ for the next fiscal 2019-20.
On Saturday, parliament approved the Finance Bill, 2019, without any significant changes as the government justified that the proposed budget did not impose additional tax.
This was the 11th consecutive budget placed by the ruling Awami League, which assumed office in January this year for the third straight five-year tenure after the December 30 general elections.
Mustafa Kamal placed the budget as finance minister for the first time.
The budget for the next fiscal showed that government’s revenue earnings would largely depend on National Board of Revenue generated tax of 3.25 trillion taka.
The government also fixed non-tax revenues at 377.1 billion and non-NBR tax 145.00 billion taka. A sum of 453.80 billion taka deficit will be met through borrowing.
The finance minister proposed to provide VAT exemption on the production and supply of bread, hand-made biscuits and hand-made cakes up to value of 150 taka per kg.
But the proposed budget has imposed VAT o the products such as plastic and aluminum items, soybean oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, mustard oil which have been enjoying the exemption benefit for a long time.
The budget has also imposed 5 per cent supplementary duty on ice-cream and increase of supplementary duty from 5 to 10 per cent of the services provided through mobile phone SIM/RIM cards.
Kamal proposed a reduction of duty of gold under passenger (non-tourist) and baggage (import) rules-2016 and for commercial import.
In his sector-specific budget allocation plan, Kamal reserved the biggest portion of 13.2 %for education and technology—followed by: 9.8% for public administration, 8.7 per cent for defense.
Allocation for public safety was made to 7.2 %, 6.5 per cent for social security and welfare, 4.3 % for health, and 2.7 % for transport and communication.
The Finance Minister allocated a sizeable amount of money to expedite 10 growth-generating projects, identified as “Mega Projects,”. The projects are the construction of Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project, Padma Rail Bridge Project, Rooppur Nuclear Power Project, Rampal Coal Based Power Project, Chittagong-Dohajari to Ramu-Cox’s Bazar and Ramu-Gundum Railway Construction Project, Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project, Construction of Payra Sea port (First Phase) Project, Sonadia Deep Sea port, Matarbari Ultra Super Critical Coal Fired Power Project, and Construction of Maheshkhali Floating LNG Terminal Project, according to state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency.