Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque on Friday said the health sector won’t face any fund crisis to tackling the Covid-19 situation.
“Fund will be given to the health sector whenever the money is required,” he said at a virtual post-budget press conference.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal also addressed the press conference, arranged a day after he placed the proposed budget for 2021-22 fiscal in Parliament.
Dr Razzaque said the Finance Ministry also repeatedly assured that "money won’t be a problem," or "allocation won’t matter to face the corona."
He said the Prime Minister repeatedly advocated a balance between lives and livelihoods - the cardinal choice for policymakers in the pandemic era. Some on the left however, point to at least the possibility that this is a false dichotomy. Not Dr Razzaque though.
"If the livelihood is not taken care of, many people will be severely affected or even die (without catching Covid)," he added.
The Agriculture Minister said the country’s economy is now vibrant and on a strong footing amid the growing reserves of foreign currency.
“The way the whole world is facing it (Covid-19), I think this government will also face it in that way. Money will not be a problem for it,” he said.
About the budgetary allocation for the health sector, Senior Secretary of Finance Division Abdur Rouf Talukder also said some Tk 14,200 crore has been kept in the proposed budget for procuring Covid vaccines during the upcoming fiscal year.
“We’ll provide the fund, if the health sector needs more money,” he said.
The Finance Secretary said the budgetary allocation for the Health Services Division has increased by 13.2 percent for the upcoming fiscal year, compared to the outgoing fiscal year. But the overall budget size has risen by 6.3 percent. “So, the growth in the allocation for the health sector is more than double,” he said.
Replying to a question over the inability to spend more money on the health sector, Abdur Rouf said the government identified two problems – lack of capacity among the officials engaged in procurement, and mismatch between demand and supply during procurement.
He said the government will address the two problems in the upcoming fiscal year as it is going to take measures to provide training for the officials.
Planning Minister MA Mannan, PM’s Economic Affair Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman, Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir, and National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, among others, spoke at the conference.