BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday (June 2, 2023) termed the proposed national budget of Bangladesh for the next fiscal year (2023-24) unrealistic and said it will not help overcome a dire economic crisis the country is facing now. “The government is saying an excellent budget has been placed which would bring about change. Our controlled media are saying the budget can’t bring any relief to people. They (govt) have completely failed to place a budget that can help get out of terrible economic crisis amid the growing price hikes in essentials,” he said. Speaking at a discussion, the BNP leader said it is a vague budget where there is no clear indication of how and from where the money will come and how the growth will be achieved. “That is why economists are saying the budget is devoid of reality.” Bangladesh Sammilito Peshajibi Parishad, a body of pro-BNP professionals, arranged the programme at the Jatiya Press Club, marking the 42nd death anniversary of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman. Read more: Budget not based on IMF conditions: Finance Minister Earlier on Thursday, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presented a Tk7,61,785 crore proposed national budget for the 2023–24 fiscal year in the national parliament with 7.5 percent GDP growth. Fakhrul said the government has widened the tax net to exploit the common people. “Even if you want to beg, you have to have a TIN number now...those who are exempted from income tax will also have to pay income tax of Tk2000.” He said the government is taking mega projects for plundering by cutting the pockets of the common people. The BNP leader said ordinary people are suffering seriously as they cannot afford daily necessities due to abnormal price hikes. Read more: CPD dismisses budget's projections on growth, inflation, revenue collection He said the prices of rice, pulses, oil, salt, onion and ginger have already gone beyond the buying capacity of common people. The BNP leader said the current government can no longer be kept in power as it is ruining the future of the nation every day and every moment. “It (govt) is also destroying our potential and dignity. That's why we all need to be united.” Fakhrul said their party wants a free, fair and neutral election under a non-party caretaker government to restore people’s voting rights and democracy. “From past experiences, we can say the election will never be fair under Awami League without a neutral caretaker government, “he said. Read more: Budget 2023-24: Govt allocates Tk88,162 crore in education sector, up 8.2% The BNP leader urged the government to quit power with dignity before time runs out fast. “Enough is enough, please now go away without hurting the people, Resign by handing over power to a caretaker government. Otherwise, the country’s people know very well how to unset you,” he said pointing at the government of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh's Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has said that the national budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2023-24 was not based on the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). "Like in different countries, the IMF has come to Bangladesh and made some recommendations to help the economy. We took their prescriptions as per our needs, but did not follow them all in preparing the budget," he said while addressing a post-budget press conference at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city on Friday (June 2, 2023). He said the IMF is not helping the countries only by providing money, they also monitor the economy. This is good for the economy. Responding to a repeated number of questions on inflation and commodity price hike, the finance minister said the government is concerned about the rising trend in inflation. Read more: Unrealistic budget won’t help overcome economic crisis: Fakhrul "We're apprehensive about inflation, but it is not beyond our control. We cannot stop feeding the people," he said. He said the government is approaching in a flexible way to contain inflation. Through social safety-net programmes, the government has been providing food to poor people. "We're trying to identify the reasons for inflation and address those. If we need to give any concession, we will do that," he said. Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque, LGRD Minister Tajul Islam, Education Minister Dipu Moni, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Finance Secretary Fatima Yasmin, Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder, and National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Rahmatul Munim were among others also addressed on the occasion. Read more: CPD dismisses budget's projections on growth, inflation, revenue collection The Finance Minister claimed that the new budget was mainly focused on benefiting the poor people. "We have expanded our tax net so that more taxes could be collected. Everybody has to pay tax," he said, adding that like other budgets in the past this was also prepared targeting both the next election and the people. "We cannot separate the people or the election from our goal of the budget," he said. Responding to another question, he said that all the projections made in the previous budgets were implemented. Kamal said Bangladesh has been well placed in remittance earnings among the countries in the region. Read more: Budget 2023-24: Govt allocates Tk88,162 crore in education sector, up 8.2% After a downward trend, remittance earning is again increasing and we can meet five months of our import bill through our reserve. He said after some measures taken by the government, the inflow of remittance will gradually go up. At the press conference, with the request of the Finance Minister, Bangladesh Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder responded to a good number of questions, specially, on inflation, remittance and banking sector. He said that Bangladesh Bank will announce its monetary policy on June 19 where it will lay out the plan on containing inflation, and increasing remittance and reserve. He claimed that though the government's loan from the banking system is increasing, it will not push up inflation as the central bank is withdrawing more money from the market through selling dollars. Read more: Budget sets 7.5 percent annual economic growth, inflation at 6 percent
The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a think tank, in its traditional post-budget review on Friday (June 2, 2023) said the proposed national budget of Bangladesh for FY 2023-24 projected ambitious targets for both GDP growth and inflation, without putting forth any realistic measures to achieve them in light of global and domestic crises. The CPD said budget focused on increasing tax-GDP ratio, but the revenue growth target is not realistic, so the volume of deficit financing will ultimately widen. CPD Executive Director Dr Fahmida Khatun led the post-budget review, held at a hotel in Gulshan, and televised live on some tv channels. She said the budget has been placed at a time when the macroeconomic stability of Bangladesh has weakened significantly. REad: Proposed budget targets are challenging: FICCI “The macroeconomic stress is visible on lowering growth of revenue mobilisation and shrinking of fiscal space of current fiscal year (FY 2022-23), soaring borrowing from banks, higher price of daily essentials and decreasing foreign exchange reserve,” she added. The private credit growth projected to 15 percent in FY 2023-24 that was 14.1 percent in 2022-23. As of April 2023, private sector credit growth was 11.3 percent, she said. Replying to a query, CPD’s distinguished fellow professor Dr Mustafizur Rahman said the revenue growth projection in 2023-24, compared with actual revenue achievement of FY2022-23, wpi;d be a massive 39 percent, which is "absolutely ambitious" - perhaps even overambitious. The budget’s growth projection occurred based on a wrong concept, so multi sectoral problems would arrive in the implementing stage of the proposed budget. Read more: Budget 2023-24: Govt allocates Tk88,162 crore in education sector, up 8.2% Mustafiz expected a monetary policy reflecting fiscal policy in light of the budget and controlling measures of higher inflation. Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of CPD said the budget technically avoided the capital market development policy, which is very essential for such a developing economy. “Without establishing a realistic and sustainable capital market, investment financing cannot grow, the government incentive based capital market cannot play a role in new investment in the capital market,” he added. Towfiqul Islam Khan, Senior Research Fellow in CPD said curiously, no mention was found regarding the accumulation of external payments arrears or new forex reserve. REad: Finance minister unveils the country’s largest ever budget in Parliament Details about critical reforms, including shifting towards market-based dollar exchange rate and interest rate and adoption of periodic formula-based petroleum product prices, have not been explained in the budget speech, he said. The CPD projection said Bangladesh's proposed national budget of FY 2023-24 targets 15.5 percent growth will be around 39.7 percent growth target compared to the current budget achievement and Tk1.42 lakh crore is needed to be mobilized.
Finance Minister AHM Musatafa Kamal on Thursday (June 1, 2023) proposed an allocation of Tk 88,162 crore for the education sector in the national budget of Bangladesh for the fiscal year 2023-2024, up from Tk 81, 449 in the current fiscal. It's an increase of 8.2% over the last budget. In the proposed budget, Tk 34,722 crore was allocated against the Primary and Mass Education Ministry for 2023-24, which was Tk 31,761 crore in 2022-23, while Tk 42,838 crore against the Secondary and Higher education sector, which was Tk. 39,961 crore in 2022-23 and Tk 10,602 crore against the Technical and Madrasa Education Division, which was Tk. 9,727 crore in 2022-23. While unveiling the national budget, the minister said “We are decentralising education planning and management and implementing a 'School Level Improvement Plan (SLIP)' to enhance efficiency in primary education management.” Read more: Budget sets 7.5 percent annual economic growth, inflation at 6 percent Under this plan, the delegation of financial power has been restructured at the field level. An integrated education Programme has been launched to ensure education in mainstream government primary schools for all children of the society including children with special needs. Some 26,366 posts of teachers have been created in the pre-primary level of government primary school. Recruitment against a total of 32,577 posts including the newly created posts have been completed. Apart from the recruitment of the required number of teachers, primary school teachers are being trained on 5 core and 3 non-core subjects to increase the quality of education, he said. Besides, greater importance is being given to technology-based education to equip students for building a ‘Smart Bangladesh’, said the minister. Read more: Tax-free income limit increases to Tk3.5 lakh A total of 59,000 laptops, multimedia projectors and sound systems have been provided along with internet connectivity to more than 50,000 government primary schools to set up multimedia classrooms. Some 800 officers have been trained on ICT and more than 1 lakh teachers have been imparted hands-on training to create digital content. These teachers are creating digital content and teaching in the classrooms. As a result, classroom study is becoming interesting and the children are becoming more attentive in class, Kamal said. Meanwhile, special allocation is being given to schools for continuing teaching activities in schools in emergencies. The ongoing school feeding programme for more than 29 lakh students of 15,470 government primary schools in 104 upazilas of 35 districts of the country through the project titled 'School Feeding in Poverty-stricken Areas' has been completed recently. “We are continuing our efforts to transform educational institutions into modern and model institutions. A total of 351 secondary schools and 371 private colleges have been nationalized since 2009 to April 2023. As many as 315 private secondary schools located in upazila headquarters without government schools have been converted into model schools,” he said. Readmore: Finance Minister unveils Tk 761,785 crore national budget The construction work of 180 buildings has been completed for the government post-graduate colleges located at the district headquarters. Out of the 1,610 colleges selected under the private colleges’ development project, the construction of ICT-friendly buildings has been completed in 1,473 colleges. Under SESDP (Secondary Education Sector Development Plan), 33 model madrasas have been set up along with 62 new schools in underprivileged areas. At present, 176 academic buildings are being constructed to expand science education along with 33 hostels under the Expansion of Science Education in Government Colleges Project. A total of 33,285 multimedia classrooms and 11,307 computer labs have been set up in selected educational institutions since 2009 to enhance students’ proficiency in information technology and to modernize teaching methods. In addition, 64,925 multimedia classrooms and 12,000 labs will be set up in future. The digital content of 21 textbooks of primary level and the interactive digital text of 16 textbooks of class 6 have been completed and uploaded on the website. E-learning modules for 6 textbooks of class 7 and class 8 and e-learning material of 6 textbooks for class 9 and class 10 have been developed and uploaded. A total of 710 ICT learning centres have been set up in selected educational institutions. Read more: Curbing inflation without destabilising macroeconomic situation presents challenge for budget: Selim Raihan Audio-visual training content has been developed for teachers on classroom activities of all subjects of class 6 and 7 and training has been imparted to all teachers through open reading.
The proposed budget of Bangladesh in the fiscal year 2023-24 has set an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GPD) worth of 50.06 lakh crore with a 7.5 percent annual growth. The inflation target was set to 6 percent which is now 9.28 percent in the proposed budget. The 7.5 percent growth projection could be deemed as ambitious given the uncertainties in the global economy and various other challenges at home. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal explained his position on why he is expecting higher growth this time despite the economic pressures. Read more: Finance Minister unveils Tk 761,785 crore national budget “We expect to return to a higher growth trajectory and achieve a 7.5 percent GDP growth, by way of investing in the productive sectors and stimulating productivity and domestic demand,” he said. Kamal focused on investment in the 100 special economic zones and completing ongoing mega-projects to achieve the GDP target. In FY19, Bangladesh achieved a record 8.15 percent GDP growth. Then came the pandemic. The finance minister set a growth target of 8.2 percent in FY20, but the actual growth achieved was 3.45 percent, the lowest in several decades. The growth rate increased to 6.94 percent in FY21 after recovering from pandemic effects. The GDP growth further increased to 7.1 percent in FY22. Read more: Budget FY23-24: Focus should be on tackling macroeconomic challenges, says Dr Atiur Rahman
Bangladesh's Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in his budget speech on Thursday (June 1, 2023) proposed to increase the tax-free income limit to Tk 3.5 lakh from the existing Tk 3 lakh for individual taxpayers for the fiscal year 2023-24.He also proposed the threshold for women and senior citizens above 65 years of age to Tk 4 lakh from Tk 3.5 lakh. Read more: Finance Minister unveils Tk 761,785 crore national budgetBesides, proposals have been placed for the physically challenged persons and third-gender taxpayers to extend their tax-free income limit to Tk 4.75 lakh from Tk 4.5 lakh and Tk 3.5 lakh respectively.The tax-free income ceiling for the war-wounded, gazetted freedom fighters will be Tk 5 lakh, up from Tk 4.75 lakh. The proposed tax rates and tax slabs for all categories of individual taxpayers except companies and local authorities are: no tax on first Tk 3.5 lakh, 5 percent tax on next Tk 1 lakh; 10 percent on next Tk 3 lakh; 15 percent on next Tk 4 lakh; 20 percent on next Tk 5 lakh and 25 percent income tax on the balance of total income. Read more: Budget sets 7.5 percent annual economic growth, inflation at 6 percent
Bangladesh's Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has unveiled the national budget of Tk 761,785 crore for the fiscal year 2023–24. The finance minister rolled out the budget at the Jatiya Sangsad on Thursday (June 01, 2023). This is the 5th consecutive budget presented by the finance minister and last of the current Awami League government. The budget focuses on driving the country on an incremental economic-growth matching Bangladesh's LDC-graduation route and fulfilling the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan of $4.7 billion. Also read: Budget for FY 2023-24 to be placed on June 1 The proposed budget is 15.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Of the total proposed budget, Tk 475,281 crore is allocated for operating expenditures, and the rest, Tk 277,582 crore, for development purposes. The total revenue earnings target was set at estimated Tk 5 lakh crore, Of which, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) will collect Tk 4.30 lakh crore, and the rest will be collected from other sources. The proposed budget's overall deficit, including grants, will be Tk 257,885 crore, which is 5.2 per cent of the GDP. Read more: Budget FY23-24: Focus should be on tackling macroeconomic challenges, says Dr Atiur Rahman The inflation target is set to 6.5 percent though current inflation rate is over 9 percent.
The Parliament Secretariat Commission on Tuesday (May 30, 2023) approved a Tk337.60 crore budget for Bangladesh Parliament to spend on its development and non-development activities for 2023-24 fiscal year. The approval was given at the 34th meeting of the Commission held at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair. Read more: No new pay scale, govt employees to get 20% dearness allowance in new budget The budget for the next fiscal year is 9.55 percent higher than the main revised budget of the current financial year, which was Tk 308.18 crore. The meeting also projected Tk 361.23 crore for 2024-25 fiscal year while Tk 386.52 crore for 2025-26 fiscal year. Prime Minister and Leader of the House Sheikh Hasina, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Opposition Leader Raushon Ershad, Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq and Chief Whip Noor-e-Alam Chowdhury attended the meeting on special invitation. Read more: Budget FY23-24: Focus should be on tackling macroeconomic challenges, says Dr Atiur Rahman Parliament Secretariat's Secretary KM Abdus Salam placed the agenda of the meeting.
Bangladesh's upcoming national budget for FY23-24 should focus on macroeconomic challenges such as taming inflation, better revenue collection, rein in growing defaulted loans and IMF-suggested reforms. This was stated by Dr Atiur Rahman, former governor of Bangladesh Bank in conversion with UNB on the expectations from the budget to be placed in parliament on June 1. Dr Atiur said budget will certainly have to address a number of macroeconomic challenges. The foremost is, of course, the inflation which is still running high at more than nine percent. “Bringing this down to 6.5 percent in the next fiscal year may not be easy unless we go fast towards market-based solutions of major macroeconomic challenges arising out of administratively controlled indicators like rate of interest and foreign exchange rates,” he said. Read more: Tk337.60 crore budget for FY2023-24 approved for placing in Parliament Thanks to the IMF programme, the budget may encourage regulatory authorities to go for an ‘interest rate corridor’ and a ‘single exchange rate’ that are long overdue. If we could have followed this time- tested path of market-driven macroeconomic management many of the ongoing challenges would have been addressed by now, said the development economist. “Yet, it is better late than never,” he said adding “Of course, some sectors like agriculture, export and remittances would still need fiscal support and they must continue to get it.” This, he said, will be desired support to the real economy which can contribute towards easing supply-side constraints to reduce inflation to some extent. However, constraining demand pressure by raising interest rates still remains a major move to reduce inflation. “I hope the macroeconomic managers would like to take this prudent path in the next fiscal year without any hesitation.” Read more: Curbing inflation without destabilising macroeconomic situation presents challenge for budget: Selim Raihan He said the rich are currently enjoying huge advantages of negative rate of interest when adjusted against inflation rate may raise political economic hurdles against such a move. But the gains of long-term macroeconomic stability must guide the policy makers to overcome such pressures, said Dr. Atiur. “I think one must not look at IMF conditionalities negatively as the budget makers have also been flagging such reforms for quite some years. The local economists in general have also been arguing for a more balanced budget with manageable deficits,” he said. Bangladesh, of course, has done pretty well in maintaining budget deficits around five percent. This year it may go above five percent (5.3%) which is not that bad. “To maintain this level of budget deficit we need to raise our domestic resources by reforming our tax administration system through higher levels of digitalization and a more efficient tax system,” Dr Atiur said. Read more: Tk 75,000cr revenue shortfall to widen current fiscal’s budget deficit: CPD The banking system has been well digitised in the meantime. Why should the NBR not take advantage of this modernisation of the money market and replicate a fully digital revenue administration system?, he questioned. Since the inflation remains very high, the fiscal measures for higher levels of social security for the extreme poor and lower income groups in terms of higher food subsidies and support for agriculture must continue in the upcoming budget as well. Strategic support for digital infrastructures for making the economy smarter must also be the cornerstone of the next budget, he pointed out. “Simultaneously, we must keep our budget as cautious as possible to restrain the inflationary outlook,” he noted. Read more: Inflation, revenue shortfall, dollar crisis the major challenges for economy ahead of election-year budget
Curbing inflation without destabilising macroeconomic situation presents challenge for budget: Selim Raihan
Economist Dr Selim Raihan believes the National Budget of Bangladesh for the fiscal year 2023-24 is being presented at a difficult time, when it will be a challenge to devise policies to manage inflation while also maintaining a stable macroeconomic situation, Dr Selim Raihan is Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Dhaka, and the Executive Director of the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM). Talking with UNB on the upcoming budget, Dr Raihan pointed out two major challenges--controlling inflation and macroeconomic management for the upcoming budget. “Higher inflation for a long time creates instability in the domestic markets and lower-income people are affected severely,” he said. Read more: No new pay scale, govt employees to get 20% dearness allowance in new budget The government’s measures to cut inflation have not proved effective, so new measures to reduce inflation need to be included in the budget, he opined. Dr Raihan said the monetary policy is not working to curb inflation as there is a mismatch with interest rates - the continued delay in withdrawing the interest rate caps also prolongs inflation. Besides, a big challenge of domestic market management is that government agencies could not implement effective market management against monopoly businesses. As a result, prices of many essential items are higher in the domestic market relative to the global market. Notably, prices of some items increase in Bangladesh at the same time that there is a downward trend in the international market, said Dr Raihan. Read more: No let-up in safe drinking water scarcity in Khulna’s Dacop Regarding macroeconomic management, he said reducing the defaulted loans and achieving the revenue collection target are big factors for stability. Forex reserves management and foreign exchange rate fluctuation also worked for instability of the macroeconomic situation, which are required to make it stable, he said. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave conditions for reducing defaulted loans to a desired level, but the latest update revealed no headway in that regard, which Dr Raihan said was alarming. The IMF’s desired target of increasing the tax GDP ratio by 0.5 percent each year, till the 2025-26 fiscal, is also proving a challenge for the National Board of Revenue. Read more: Inflation, revenue shortfall, dollar crisis the major challenges for economy ahead of election-year budget The SANEM chief said although the revenue collection target increased every year in the budget, in the absence of any coherent plan and institutional capacity-building initiatives for NBR, there is almost no progress towards attaining those targets. In fact, the revenue collection shortfall keeps getting wider, he pointed out. Dr Raihan suggested joint initiatives of Bangladesh Bank and the Ministry of Finance to reduce the defaulted loans, saying the central bank alone cannot handle the issue. He also sought the central bank’s effective measures to ensure good governance in the banking sector, averting the pressure of any influential group. Dr Raihan also suggested increasing allocation and coverage under the social safety net, to ease the woes of vulnerable groups. Read more: Bank default loans surge to Tk1.31 lakh crore: BB