Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told Parliament that the budget has given the highest priority to rein in inflation in the fiscal year beginning on July 1.
“I think the budget has been able to give the highest priority to firmly face (control high) inflation created due to the current global instability and the pandemic,” she said.
The premier was speaking during the general discussion on the national budget for FY2022-23 as the Leader of the House in the 18th session of the 11th Parliament.
She said the government has been able to give such a large budget of Tk 6,78064 crore despite an adverse situation caused by the Ukraine war that came close on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Many people couldn’t think that we would be able to place it (the budget), but we’ve been able to do it,” he said, extending her sincere thanks to the finance minister and all others involved in the budget preparation.
It is the 23th national budget placed by the Awami League government since the Liberation War and the 4th budget given during the current tenure of AL government, she noted.
“We’ll be able to implement the budget, placed for the 2022-23 fiscal year, successfully with an all-out support of the people,” said Hasina.
She said Bangladesh will have to go forward overcoming the adverse impacts of the war and coronavirus pandemic and it will be able to do so. “We’re making the impossible things possible by overcoming hundreds of obstacles at home and abroad, '' she said.
Bangladesh has successfully been able to maintain its economic progress when many developed countries are facing difficulties due to global instability, she added.
She said the government is taking all necessary measures to control inflation fuelled by price-hike of goods in the global market.
The PM said the main strategy to keep the inflation under control would be -- raising the supply of goods and reducing the existing growth of demand. “To reduce inflation is our big target,” she added.
She said this week’s opening of the Padma Bridge to vehicular traffic is easing the supply of goods largely and will also help reduce the inflation rate because of a revolutionary change in the communication network.
Noting that the government is discouraging the import of luxury goods, the PM urged businesspeople to stop importing items which are not very essential.
PM Hasina said the government will take proper measures to reduce dependency on imported goods.
In this context, she urged all to go for the consumption of made-in-Bangladesh products and services.
Nothing to worry about foreign exchange reserve: PM
Sheikh Hasina said the country’s reserve of foreign currency has declined as the import of goods, largely capital machineries and fertilizers, went up after the Covid-19 restrictions.
She said the country will be benefited when the capital machineries are installed and the related industries go in operation. So, there is nothing to worry about it,” she added.
Though the reserve of dollars has declined slightly for this, it is not an alarming matter, said the prime minister, adding that the reserve came down to US$ 41.2 billion from US$ 48 billion during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said the government has taken a number of measures to control the foreign exchange rate. The government enhanced the import duty on luxury goods, suspended the foreign trips of the government officers and employees, strengthened the Bangladesh Bank’s monitoring on illegal stock of dollars, and enhanced cash incentive to 2.5 per cent on remittance inflow in legal channels, she mentioned.
She said the government is not imposing the increased prices of fuels, electricity and gas on the people rather providing these at subsidized rates. But the amount of the subsidy is very high, she added.
Padma Bridge is symbol of our dignity: Hasina
Citing that the Padma Bridge was constructed with own fund of Bangladesh, Hasina said the bridge is the symbol of the heroic ability of the Bengali nation.
She again extended her sincere thanks and gratitude to the people of Bangladesh. “Their courage is my only resource,” she added.
Talking about the fresh wave of Covid-19 infection, the premier asked the people to follow the health protocols, as they did in the past, and receive the boaster doses of vaccines in order to retain the success of Bangladesh in facing the pandemic.
About the graduation of Bangladesh from a least developed country, she hoped that Bangladesh will be able to overcome the post-graduation challenges with remarkable success. “I hope that Bangladesh will set an example for development as a developing country across the world,” she added.
Master plan on blended education to be taken:
Sheikh Hasina said the government will put further importance to the standard technical and vocational education with a view to create skilled manpower in the country.
“We’ll take a master plan on blended education…. We’ve started to prepare a plan for blended education,” she said.
The PM said the government has taken a plan to increase the ICT-based employment to 30 lakh people by 2025
About the recent flood, she said there will be a fund of Tk 5000 crore to face disasters in the upcoming fiscal year. The government will also provide cash support to the flood-hit people whose houses were damaged, she said.