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Competitiveness more dignified than duty-free facilities: Muhith

UNB NEWS

Wednesday 11 April, 2018 09:06:25 pm

Competitiveness more dignified than duty-free facilities: Muhith

Dhaka, Apr 11 (UNB) - Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Wednesday told Parliament that it will be more dignified for Bangladesh to embrace the competitiveness rather than enjoying duty-free trade facilities.
 
“I have no hesitation to say that it’s more dignified to maintain the competitiveness rather than enjoying duty-free trade facilities,” he said.
 
The Finance Minister made the remarks while placing a report on the progress of budget implementation in the second quarter (July-December) of the current fiscal year, the trend of income and expenditure and macroeconomic analysis in the House.     
 
Muhith said as a nation, it is desirable that Bangladesh will be a self-dependent and developed one discarding dependency on others. “Our economic position is now much more integrated and stronger,” he said.
 
He said Bangladesh has been able to maintain its expected trend in the USA market without duty-free facility. “Our position of self-confidence has been strengthened,” he said.
 
As there is an apprehension that Bangladesh has to face tough challenges in the world trade after graduating from the group of least developed countries (LDCs) to a developing one, the Finance Minister said the government will be able to face those together with people.

Talking about government’s tireless efforts to contain inflation, he said the annual average inflation increased to 5.7 percent in December 2017 from 5.5 percent in the same period of 2016.
 
Muhith said the point-to-point inflation rose to 5.8 percent in December last year7 from 5 percent from the corresponding period of 2016.
 
However, the non-food inflation decreased 3.5 percent in December 2017 from 7.1 percent in December 2016, he said.
 
“The food inflation increased due to a hike in the fuel price in the world market and damage of crops due to flood,” he said.
         
The Finance Minister said the remittance inflow continued its upward trend in the second quarter like the previous one. "The remittance inflow increased by 12.5 percent in the second quarter of the current fiscal year compared to the previous year."

Highlighting some key macroeconomic indicators during the second quarter (July-December) of the current financial year, he said the revenue collection under the National Board of Revenue (NBR) rose by 16.9 percent, the overall public expenditure increased by 7.8 percent, the ADP implementation rate was 27.1 against 27.7 percent in the last fiscal year, export earnings rose to 7.2 percent which was 4 percent in the previous year, import expenditure increased by 25.8 percent to $ 28.4 billion, the growth for opening import LCs is 74.8 percent and the private sector credit flow increased by 18.1 percent.
 
About the overall revenue collection scenario during the second quarter, Muhith said about Tk 103,158 crore were collected during the time which was about 35.8 percent of the budgetary target. And the amount was 16 percent higher than the previous year’s collection.

He said the revenue collection target in the current fiscal year was earlier set at Tk 287,990 crore.

About the government expenditure scenario during the second quarter, he said the overall government expenditure increased by 7.8 percent compared to the second quarter of the last fiscal year.

On budget deficit, the Finance Minister said it was 3.1 percent in the last fiscal year and in the current fiscal year, it is anticipated to be Tk 106,773 crore, which is 4.8 percent of the GDP.

In his statement, the Finance Minister also touched upon various aspects of education, health, power and energy, communication infrastructure, agriculture and rural development, social welfare, expatriate welfare and industrial sectors.