• Thursday, Feb 21, 2019
  • Last Update : 11:41 pm

Parliament passes Tk464,573 crore national budget

  • Published at 03:15 pm June 28th, 2018
  • Last updated at 11:27 am June 29th, 2018
File photo of Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban Dhaka Tribune

A total of nine MPs from Jatiya Party and independent parties submitted their cut-motions on the budget

Parliament has passed the Tk464,573 crore national budget for FY 2018-19.

The budget themed as “Bangladesh on a Pathway to Prosperity” was passed on Thursday, with a growth target of 7.8%.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith moved the Appropriations Bill, 2018 seeking a budgetary allocation of Tk5,718,338,292,000 which was passed by voice vote.

Following the proposal mooted in the House, by the Finance Ministry, for parliamentary approval to appropriate  funds to meet necessary development and non-development expenditures of the government, the ministers concerned placed justifications for the expenditures by their respective ministries, through 59 demands for grant.

Earlier, Parliament, by voice vote, rejected a total of only 448 cut motions that stood in the name of opposition and independent members, on 59 demands for grants for different ministries.

A total of nine MPs from Jatiya Party and independent parties submitted their budget cut-motions.

They were allowed to participate in the discussion on the: Higher Secondary and Higher Education Division, Health Ministry, Local Government Division, Disaster Management Ministry and Railways Ministry.

Later, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury applied a guillotine to hasten the process of passing the demands for grants for different ministries—without breaking for lunch.

Opposition and independent MPs were present in the House when the Appropriation Bill was passed in Parliament and they did not raise a voice against passing the bill.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith on June 7 unveiled a Tk464,573 crore ambitious budget for the next fiscal year (2018-19).

Earlier on Wednesday, the House passed the Finance Bill, 2018, with some changes in VAT and tariff rates—aiming to boost the ICT sector and promote local industries.

The VAT on internet service lowered to 5% from the proposed 15%— while 5% additional VAT from assembling mobile phone sets was exempted. 

The prices of 10-stick low category cigarettes increased from Tk32 to Tk35—while that of high-category 10-stick cigarettes to Tk105 from Tk102. The tariff on Jarda per gram was fixed at Tk1.20 while that for Gul Tk0.60. 

The supplementary duty from petroleum jelly was waived considering its wide range of uses during winter by rural and marginalised people. Around 10% supplementary duty on filament bulbs was scrapped as energy bulbs are still costly for the poor and marginalised people. A total of 7% additional VAT on locally produced motorcycles was also exempted.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith, who placed his 10th consecutive budget for the AL-led government, has accurately projected the economic developments achieved over the past decade with the present AL-led alliance in power.

The budget for the next fiscal year showed that government's revenue earnings would largely depend on NBR-generated (National Board of Revenue) tax (Tk 2,96,201 crore) followed by other sources like non-tax revenues (Tk 33,352 crore) and non-NBR tax (Tk 9,727 crore). Still, there will be an income-expenditure mismatch of Tk 1,25,293 crore.

As per the Finance Minister's budget speech, an amount of Tk.54,067 crore (2.1% of GDP) will be financed by external sources while an amount of Tk.71,226 crore (2.8% of GDP) will be financed by domestic sources.

Of the domestic sources, Tk 42,029 crore (1.7% of GDP) will be borrowed from the banking system whileTk.29,197 crore (1.2% of GDP) from National Savings Schemes and other non-bank sources.

Muhith gave relief to certain companies, by reducing company tax  to 37.5% from the existing 40%; but belying public expectations, he preferred keeping the tax-exemption ceiling intact at Tk2.5 lakh.

In his sector-specific budget allocation plan, Muhith reserved the biggest portion of 14.6% for education and technology—followed by: 12% for transport and communication, 11.1% for interest payment, 7.1% for subsidies and incentives, 7% for local government and rural development, 6.3% for miscellaneous expenditure, 5.6% each for three sectors (defence, public order, and security and pension), 5.4% for energy and power, 5.1% for social security and welfare, 5% for health, 3.7% for agriculture and 3.1% for public administration.

In the Tk179, 669 crore development budget, the Finance Minister attached most importance to transport and communication—by proposing to allocate 26.6% to a development budget, followed by 16.3% for education and technology, 15.7% for local government and rural development, and 13.8% for energy and power.

The Finance Minister kept aside a sizeable amount to expedite the 10 growth-generating projects, identified as “Mega Projects,” which are the: 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.

He re-imposed 25% customs duty and 3% regulatory duty on rice imports to protect local farmers— as the country had a bumper paddy in the Boro season.