Govt to finance if the health ministry takes an initiative to set up special hospitals like those in China
The government is ready to pay as much money as required for treatment and control the spread of the coronavirus, said Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Wednesday.
He added that the government will finance the health ministry if it decides to set up special hospitals such as the ones in China, which is at the epicentre of the deadly pandemic.
The minister made the remarks in response to questions from reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase at the Bangladesh Secretariat.
"We cannot say that we are immune to the virus that is troubling the entire world," said the finance minister.
"Now we have to keep the virus from spreading. We have experience now, but China did not have it when the outbreak began."
He said everyone has the responsibility of making people aware of coronavirus, and how to protect themselves from getting infected. "I can assure you that the health ministry has no shortage of funds to deal with the matter."
"We have the financial capacity. If necessary, the health ministry will set up special hospitals like the ones in China. The finance ministry will support the health ministry. We have to carry out the work smoothly. We cannot lag behind in away way."
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has an allocated $50 million to fight the coronavirus.
When asked whether Bangladesh will have access to the fund, the finance minister said, "We will get money if the IMF decides to pay it. Other development partners will also pay."
Meanwhile, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said that if a contractor firm fails to submit updated tax returns annually, we will not allow it to work in government projects.
"We will continue to get new taxpayers and our revenue generation will further increase."
Responding to a question, the minister said, "We collect source tax from many organisations, but it is not mandatory for some to pay it. The government gives refunds on income that is not taxable.
"We will make the income tax act easier for taxpayers."
Discussing the national budget, AHM Mustafa Kamal said, "Once we announce a budget, it will remain unchanged throughout the fiscal year. We will no longer allow any changes through Statutory Regulatory Orders"
The Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase on Wednesday approved seven projects at a meeting. Furthermore, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved in principle the import of diesel with sulphur content of 50 parts per million (ppm).