National Budget: Key focus on saving people, businesses

Shawkat Ali Khan

31st May, 2021 10:43:29 PM printer

National Budget: Key focus on saving people, businesses

The government is going to unveil the upcoming national budget with an aim to save the country’s people and businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Apart from dealing with the coronavirus situation, the government will keep focusing on sustainable development to meet the conditions of the country’s graduation from the group of least developed countries to a developing one by the stipulated time.

“Our target is to save the people and businesses. We’ll place the budget keeping eyes on every sector,” Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said.

Bangladesh is going to have the largest-ever national budget this year with an outlay of some Tk 6 trillion for 2021-2022 fiscal year.

The finance minister will place the budget on Thursday in Parliament, which goes into its 13th session, popularly known as budget session, Wednesday on a limited scale due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Of the country’s 50th national budget, it will be the 13th budget to be placed by the Awami League government in a row while overall 22nd by the government formed by the country’s oldest party which led the nation in achieving independence and is playing a significant role to get a dignified position in global arena.

Sources say the government puts more importance to local industries to facilitate a smooth growth of homegrown trade and businesses.

The government may offer VAT exemption for the ‘Made-in-Bangladesh’ goods, they say.

Apart from these, social safety net programmes may be expanded in the upcoming budget in a bid to safeguard people whose livelihoods have become vulnerable due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Various sectors, including health, agriculture, disaster and relief management and education, will also get priority in the upcoming budget.

Usually, the lawmakers run a long discussion on the proposed budget highlighting government’s planning and overall activities in running the state.

Whips of the ruling party say many lawmakers will not get chance to speak on the proposed budget this time due to the pandemic.

Whip Abu Sayeed Al Mahmood Swapon told the Daily Sun that the session may have a less number of sittings due to the coronavirus situation. “There’ll be 12 sittings with recesses. The session may be prorogued on July 3,” he said, adding that all the lawmakers have been requested to follow the health guidelines.

Parliament Secretariat sources say like other sessions during the Covid-19 pandemic, the budget session will run maintaining health protocols.

In this case, only MPs who test negative for Covid-19 will be allowed to attend the session.

A limited number of lawmakers, who are required to fulfil the quorum in the House, will be asked to attend the session on a rotation basis, sources said.

Before placing the proposed budget, a special Cabinet meeting will be held in Parliament, which may pass the proposed budget on June 30.

Before the start, the Business Advisory Committee, headed by Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, will fix the duration of the session.