Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in his budget speech has proposed revolutionary measures to achieve more socioeconomic development to transform Bangladesh into a utopia.
The steps recommended by him will ease the country’s stride towards its SDG implementation target.The minister dreamed of a utopian country by adopting pragmatic steps to boost the national economy, literacy, agriculture, communications, employment and planned urbanization.
In a rare and dare move, he has proposed a hike in GDP growth to 15 percent in his revolutionary budget speech for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
He has promised to create 10 million new jobs by establishing 100 economic zones across the country.
“Establishment of 100 economic zones is in progress for employment generation through increased investment. Almost 10 million new jobs will be created in these economic zones,” he said.
In Chapter IV titled “A Journey Towards Prosperous Future”, he has recommended sectoral strategies, action plans and resource mobilisation, medium-term policy for more socioeconomic development.
To reduce a gap between rural and urban life, he has proposed allocation and schemes to ensure concrete roads, sanitation, pure water, good schools and colleges in the remote areas.He also advocated for creation of small industrialisation and loan allocation for rural entrepreneurs to boost employment opportunity for villagers.
The finance minister warned tough action against willful and deliberate loan defaulters to make the banking sector viable. He promised to bring down loan interest to a single digit, a step being demanded by the businessmen for long.
Besides, he has proposed formation of the much-talked-about banking commission to bring back discipline in the banking sector.
An FCA, AHM Mustafa Kamal found fault with country’s current banking system of allocating long-term loans against short-term deposit.
He said this is creating an imbalance in financial sector which has to be resolved.
Putting due importance on social safety net, he proposed various facilities and more allocation for people with disabilities, elderly men, widows and other vulnerable classes of the society.
The budget proposed allocation of Tk 74,367 crore in this sector in the upcoming fiscal year, up from Tk. 64,404 crore in the outgoing fiscal year.
For ensuring services to the persons with disabilities, imposition of 5 percent additional tax on a medical service provider who fails to ensure special accessibility for physically challenged persons was introduced last year.
“This year, I propose to extend its scope by imposing the application of this provision on schools, colleges, universities and NGOs,” said the minister. However, this provision will come into force from the assessment year 2020-21 for schools, colleges, universities and NGOs so that they have enough time for the installation of necessary facilities for this purpose.
The finance minister proposed pension scheme for all. Pension for all employed citizens in both formal and informal sectors will be ensured gradually.
As sending remittance by expatriates through non-banking channels is hampering revenue earnings, he proposed incentive to encourage people to use proper channel in this regard.
To take the country’s export to a new high, the finance minister proposed incentive in exportable items including jute, leather, medicine and apparels.
Dominating export sector, the ready-made garments industry is getting a highest cash incentive of 5 per cent in the budget for 2019-20 fiscal year.
He also promised necessary steps to end stalemate in the housing and real estate sector.
People especially, poor and middle classes, are hard hit by an increase in life expenditure and inflation. To resolve problems, the minister promised necessary measures to contain inflation and hike in prices of essentials.
As part for promoting education sector, finance minister promised step to include schools and colleges in MPO list. To ensure people’s right to healthcare service, Mustafa Kamal rightly proposed to control price of cancer medicines which many people cannot afford for are being costly.
The finance minister proposed imposition of 15 percent tax on stock dividend distributed to the shareholders by any listed company to encourage the distribution of cash dividend. He proposed it to make stock market vibrant.
Proposing chance in Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act, 2012 in the “ease of doing business” index, he said taxpayers will have the opportunity to get online service for VAT and turnover tax registration, tax payment, return submission, and refund.
The existing price declaration system before the supply of goods will be abolished and taxpayers will pay VAT on the basis of fair market price, he added.