The most talked-about sector, health, is getting an allocation of Tk29,246 crore, an increase of 23.44 percent from the revised budget allocation for the outgoing fiscal year
Keeping the people alive with food and work amid the Covid-19 pandemic is getting the topmost priority in the budget for the next fiscal year (2020-21), said Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.
The people should be kept employed in the same way as they were before the Covid-19 outbreak, said the minister in an interview with The Business Standard on Tuesday about the upcoming budget.
On Thursday, he will present a budget proposal with an outlay of Tk568,000 crore for the fiscal year 2020-21 in parliament. This is going to be Mustafa Kamal's second budget as a finance minister.
The finance minister said the budget for the next financial year is being prepared by giving priority to the people of the country. People need to be fed in the event of an epidemic. They need to be kept in employment. They will be helped with the products and material that people need on a daily basis to make a living.
He also said that many who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic will be given an opportunity to keep themselves busy again in their work.
The agriculture and health sectors must be developed. This is the main philosophy of the upcoming budget, he mentioned.
"Health and agriculture are our top priorities. The budget will present long-term plans for sustainable development of the health sector.
"We need to make our agriculture thrive. The sector will be hundred percent mechanised. So, everything necessary will be done for agriculture throughout the year,"he added.
Since there is no other way but a budget to spend the money of the state for the people's welfare, it is a constitutional duty to present and pass it, the minister said.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is all set with his traditional briefcase to announce a budget of Tk5,68,000 crore for fiscal year 2020-21 with an unreasonable and ambitious target for revenue and growth.
And such an ambitious move comes despite the fact that the country is currently plagued by the coronavirus pandemic.
Amid limited economic activities to cope with rising cost pressures, a revenue target of Tk330,000 crore has been set for the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
Even so, the government expects to attain 8.2 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) growth in the new fiscal year with an estimated budget deficit of six percent.
It is to be noted that various international organisations, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, have predicted that Bangladesh's growth will be much lower in the next financial year.
NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem has already written to Finance Secretary Abdur Rauf Talukder, terming the revenue target "unreasonable".
According to him, revenue collection in the new financial year could reach the highest figure of Tk250,000 crore even if growth is 14 percent in line with the rate of previous several years. But the target has been set Tk80,000 crore higher.
In total, the finance division has estimated revenue of Tk3,78,003 crore for the next financial year.
The budget deficit will rise to Tk189,997 crore which is six percent of the Gross Domestic Product and 33.45 percent of the total budget.
To meet the deficit, the government will borrow Tk109,980 crore from domestic sources, includingTk84,980 crore from the banking sector, Tk20,000 crore from savings certificates and Tk5,000 crore from other sources.
The government will takeTk76,004 crore in loans from abroad.
In the coming budget, education and technology, transport and communication, and payment of interest on loans are getting the maximum allocation.
Due to the coronavirus epidemic, the most talked-about sector, health, is getting an allocation of Tk29,246crore, an increase of 23.44 percent from the revised budget allocation for the outgoing financial year.
Agriculture is getting Tk29,983 crore, includingan additional subsidy of Tk500 crore.
In the new fiscal year, the allocation for transport and communication, and power and energy has decreased as compared to the original budget allocation for the current financial year.
Local government and rural development, housing, and industrial and economic services sectors are being allocated less than their allocations in the revised budget for the departing fiscal year.