Budget to focus on corona fight

Hasibul Aman

29th May, 2021 10:47:01 PM printer

Budget to focus on corona fight

The upcoming budget is likely to focus more on corona as the lion’s share of an increased expenditure plan is being taken to address the ongoing pandemic impacts that have left lives and livelihoods at stake.

The government is going to put most emphasis on protecting lives from the pandemic and vaccinate a large section of the population, according to finance ministry officials.

The next fiscal’s budget may stand at Tk 6.03 trillion, which will be Tk 350 billion higher than current fiscal’s original budget or nearly Tk 650 billion larger than the revised outlay.

 The government plans to spend almost all the increased allocation on fighting corona impacts as it is still uncertain that when the pandemic will end and the world return to normal.

 As a result, money will be allocated in the budget to vaccinate all the adult population to safeguard people from the virus.

 On the other hand, the government will put more focus on bringing back economy on track, if the corona situation doesn’t deteriorate further.

 So, the next budget’s key focus areas are going to be pumping money corona health emergencies, revitalizing economy and enhancing capacity of the health sector, according to finance ministry officials.

There is a plan to bring some 100 million people under the ongoing vaccination campaign in the next fiscal year, for which the government is setting aside Tk 100 billion in the budget of FY2021-22.

 At the same time, support will be given for activities that will enhance mony supply into the market and budgetary measures will try to increase investment to create jobs for reviving the economy.

Special support will be given to export sector, agriculture and small and medium enterprises to help them overcome negative impacts of corona pandemic.  

“The government wants to vaccinate all the adults of the country by the next fiscal year because spread of corona can be prevented once the vaccination is complete,” a finance ministry official linked to budget formulation process said.

 For this, 200 million doses of Covid-19 jabs will be required and the government may need some Tk 120 billion to purchase the required vaccines in line with $5-$10 international vaccine price estimate.   

In the current fiscal’s budget, Tk 120 billion was allocated for conducting development activities of health services division and education division. Allocation for these two divions has already been raised to 173.06 billion for the next fiscal year.

Their allocation as operational expenditure is also rising modestly to Tk 150 billion in the upcoming budget.

Besides, allocation for 14 ministries and divisions involved in health related activities is going up as well. The government seeks to improve universal health services apart from fighting corona.

 For the time being, the country is eying on Chinese and Russian vaccines. In future, US made vaccines may also be procured, if available, the official said.

 “There will be no money crisis in procuring vaccine. If more money required than allocation, it will be provided from the budget support from the development partners,” he remarked.

 The government wants to continue its austerity measures like suspending vehicle purchase, providing money to less important projects, stopping less important construction work, unnecessary training, foreign tour and land acquisition next year also.

Support for the poor and affected people will be expanded for meeting their basic needs.

Subsidy on agriculture will be increased by Tk 5 billion to ensure food security by developing the agriculture sector.

 There will be initiatives in the budget to improve investment climate so that more jobs are created through more investment. Investment in economic zones and other areas will be encouraged.

The ongoing large infrastructure projects like Padma Bridge, metrorail, elevated expressway and other mega projects will be intensified as these projects will create domestic demands.

 Economic analysts have called for focusing more on vaccination in the next fiscal’s budget as it is most important issue now to stop spread of the virus, while protecting the poor and affected people.