‘Cheerful’ Finance Minister Muhith set to present a ‘bold’ budget for Bangladesh
Abdur Rahim Harmachi, bdnews24.com
Published: 2015-06-04 02:38:31.0 BdST Updated: 2015-06-04 03:25:12.0 BdST
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith is going to unveil a Tk 3 trillion jumbo budget for the 2015-16 fiscal on Thursday, with a target to fund two-thirds of the spending from the revenue sector.
The 83-year-old minister believes he is being ‘brave’ for tailoring a budget of this size to improve standards of living of the people.
He is emboldened by the drop in international oil prices, political stability after months of turmoil, and controlled inflation.
The installation of tax offices at Upazilas, warning for taxmen to ditch ‘old style’ and bringing 500,000 new taxpayers under the net after a survey have helped him to get ambitious.
Muhith will set a record by placing his seventh consecutive national budget.
He had made budgets as the finance minister of the Sheikh Hasina government six times.
Thursday’s will be his ninth in total.
He said a target to collect Tk 2 trillion from revenue will be set to implement the ‘big’ budget.
“I’m going to place the budget in a truly comfortable condition... never before have I placed a budget in such a cheerful mood.
“Stability is back in politics. Shutdowns and blockades appear to be over for good. Our entrepreneurs have regained confidence,” he said.
Industrial entrepreneurs are also viewing the drop in oil prices in the international market as the best opportunity for investment.
But they are frustrated by the failure to get gas and power connections.
The price of oil has halved in the international market in past one year. Food prices are low and global inflation is also under control.
Moreover, Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves have touched a record $24 billion while expatriates are remitting more and more. Exports are also on the rise.
A look at the past few years’ budgets shows revenue collection increased by 11 percent in five years of the Awami League government.
In one fiscal year, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) collected 23 percent more revenue than the previous year.
The government upped spendings in proportion to the rise in revenue earning.
Muhith, however, never allowed the deficit between earnings and expenses to be over five percent in any fiscal year.
He did not even blink when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wanted to raise the allocation for the Annual Development Programme (ADP) by Tk 45 billion during the meeting of the National Economic Council on May 14.
That is why the NBR will have to collect Tk 1.76 trillion in revenues instead of the preliminary target of Tk 1.65 trillion.
The finance minister, however, plans to burden people with no fresh taxes.
But AB Mirza Azizul Islam, who advised a former caretaker government on finance, has sounded caution.
“I have seen budget goals being missed for the past four years. Revenue collection, overall expenditure, GDP growth, inflation – the targets remained unattained in all cases,” he said.
Mirza Aziz, who placed two budget proposals during 2007-8 caretaker government, suggested making the budget “realistic”.
Four decades ago, the first budget of Bangladesh designed by the then finance minister Tajuddin Ahmad was of Tk 7.86 billion.
The regime of military ruler Ziaur Rahman saw three budgets, with the last one worth Tk 25 billion.
Late finance minister Saifur Rahman, who prepared 12 budgets, started with a Tk 41 billion one and ended with Tk 700 billion.
During Awami League’s 1996-2001 term, late finance minister Shah AMS Kibria was not keen to make ‘big’ budgets.
Mirza Aziz’s two budgets were within Tk 1 trillion.
Muhith, who prepared a Tk 1.13 trillion budget for 2009-10 fiscal year, said the budget for 2015-16 fiscal would be one to ‘make dreams of changing times a reality’.
“The dream is coming true... we will be a middle-income country before 2021,” he said.
GDP target 7.1 percent
The government targetted a 7.3 percent GDP growth in the Tk 2.5 billion budget for 2014-15 fiscal year.
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the GDP will grow by 6.51 percent.
In the 2015-16 fiscal year, the target will be 7.1 percent.
The finance minister is also aiming to bring inflation below six percent.
The overall deficit would be around Tk 860 billion, finance ministry officials said.
Any unauthorised use or reproduction of bdnews24.com content for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited and constitutes copyright infringement liable to legal action.
- Bangladesh Bank heist was 'state-sponsored': US official
- Bangladesh Bank officials face questions over fire in office building
- Direct train line to Darjeeling to run after fifty years
- Tripura to have three railway links with Bangladesh, says Indian minister
- US may accuse North Korea of theft of Bangladesh reserves at New York Fed: Wall Street Journal
- NSA official points the finger at North Korea in Bangladesh Bank heist
- New draft law proposes official clearance mandatory for building houses in villages
- World economy picks up after decade of stagnation
- Rooppur N-power plant: Bangladesh, Russia agree on spent fuel management plan
- Planning ministry detects misuse of fund in Chittagong court building construction
- Voting underway for Comilla City Corporation elections
- At least seven militants killed in terror den at Moulvibazar
- BNP candidate re-elected Comilla mayor
- Security forces launch operation on terror den in Moulvibazar
- Comilla vote: Sima satisfied, Shakku objects
- Hasina visits the house of her daughter's in-laws in Faridpur
- Another ‘anti-terror raid’ begins in Tongi
- Election Commission expects 80 percent voter turnout in Comilla polls
- Dhaka bets on Beijing, Bengal to solve Teesta, says Kolkata's Telegraph'
- Blasts, firing during 'final assault' on terror den outside Moulvibazar town