Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday claimed the proposed budget for FY 2019-20 as people-friendly, development-oriented and balanced one, reports by state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency.
Everyone will be benefitted by the budget as it will help continue the pace of ongoing development, the report quotes Hasina as saying this.
“Everyone will be benefitted by the budget, - this budget will help us to go forward with continuing the pace of ongoing development to build a happy, developed and a prosperous country,” she said while winding up the general discussion on the proposed budget in the parliament.
Hasina, also Leader of the House said, “Bangladesh is going ahead and it’s my commitment to build a happy, prosperous and developed ‘Sonar Bangladesh’ free from hunger and poverty dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”
The government has achieved the quality of upgrading Bangladesh into a middle income country by successfully implementing the ‘Vision 2021 and it is heading forward to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and build a developed country by 2041, she said.
The premier said that the proposed budget of Taka 5,23,190 crore is the 11th straight budget of the Awami League government and the first one of this government.
“We are now being praised in home and abroad for unprecedented development (of the country) in the last 10 years during the tenure of our government,” she said.
The GDP growth is going to reach 8.13 percent in the current FY 2018- 19 while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has forecasted of 8 percent GDP growth and according to ADB, it’s the highest in the Asia, she said.
Hasina added, “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has mentioned that Bangladesh is one of the 20th countries which are going to contribute the highest in the GDP”
Bangladesh is set a target to achieve 8.20 percent growth in the GDP in the FY 2019-20 and double digit in the FY 2023-2024, the premier continued.
The Prime Minister also moved the Finance Bill, 2019 in the House on behalf of the finance minister as he is still sick.
The premier said that the budget was mainly dependent on the foreign grants during other governments, adding, “The foreign grants in budget was 6.4 percent while it now stands at only 0.8 percent due to the Awami League government’s initiatives to increase income and ensure overall development after assuming office in 2009.”
Once the country’s development budget was largely dependent on foreign grants, but now Bangladesh is financing 90 percent of the development budget from its own resources, she said.
“We have become self-defendant and self-respectful nation by reducing dependency on foreign grants as the government has attained the skill to this respect,” she also said.
Highlighting her government’s initiatives in various sectors for ensuring overall socio-economic development of the country, the prime minister said, “We have achieved huge progress in various indices of the development such as education, health, human and social development.”
In this context, she said, the literacy rate was 65.5 percent during the Awami League government in 1996 while it had been reduced to 53.7 percent in 2006 (during the tenure of BNP-Jamaat government). And now it has stood at 72.9 percent, she said.
The life expectancy of Bangladeshi people has increased to 72.8 years in 2019 from 65 years in 2006 while the per capita income was $543 during the FY 2005-2006 and it is now $1909 in 2019, she informed.
Mentioning that the poverty rate is reduced to 21.8 percent from 41 percent while the hardcore poverty rate is reduced to 11 percent from 25 percent, she said. “We have set a target to reduce the poverty rate to 16 to 17 percent and hardcore poverty rate to 4.5 percent, attain the per capita of $2750, achieve export target of 72 million US dollars and generate 28,000 megawatt electricity.”
“I personally believe the proposed budget for the FY 2019-20 will play a vital role in achieving the targets,” the premier added.
Sheikh Hasina, also President of the ruling Awami League party, said it has been possible to make inflation rate stable, the budget deficit tolerable, the money exchange rate business friendly and ensure sufficient reserve of foreign exchange due to pragmatic and time-befitting measures undertaken by the government.
The prime minister said the government has taken all possible measures to increase growth in industrialization aimed at speeding up growth in the GDP as well as generating employment.
Setting up of (100) special economic zones across the country will help attain the targets set by the government, Sheikh Hasina said.
“Priority will be given on the development of service, agriculture, tourism and housing sectors,” she said, adding that the GDP growth will be double digit with implementing the projects regarding infrastructures development within the quickest possible time.”
“Since we are giving priority on the private sector, targets have been set to ensure electricity, fuel, port facilities and security as well through public investment,” the prime minister said.
She said a Taka 100 crore has been allocated in the proposed budget as ‘start up fund’ to facilitate the youths to start their businesses utilizing the fund.
And a Taka 100 crore has also been allocated in the proposed budget to stop river erosion, Sheikh Hasina said.
She said that 2 percent cash incentive will be given on remittance from the next fiscal year to reduce the expense in sending remittance which will encourage the expatriates to send remittance in legal ways.
The government has a plan to bring the expatriate Bangladeshis under the insurance coverage, the premier added.
She also said that the government has been giving 4 percent incentive in four segments of the Readymade Garment Factory while a proposal of giving one percent incentive on RMG exports in the proposed budget is an epoch-making decision.
The premier said her government has a target to bring each people under the coverage of the electricity soon as it has already brought 93 percent of the people under the coverage.
The government has set a target to generate 60,000 megawatt of electricity by 2041, she said, adding that Bangladesh is now importing 600 megawatt of power from India while talks with Nepal and Bhutan are underway in this regard.
She said her government has been tirelessly working to reach civic amenities to the villages under the project “Amar Gram Amar Shohor” “(My Village My Town)”.
Turning to education sector, the premier said, “We are giving topmost priority on the education sector. As many as Taka 87,620 crore has been allocated in the education sector.”
On health sector, she said, “Our target is to reach healthcare services to doorsteps of the people. Currently, 13779 community clinics have been rendering healthcare services free of cost at the grassroots and distributing 30 different types of medicines.”
Around 4000 community clinics are giving delivery services, she said, adding that the government has created post for 3000 midwives for cutting down the maternity death rate, she said.
The government will set up medical university in each divisional city for development of medical education, she continued.
Regarding agriculture, the premier said, the contribution of agriculture sector to GDP is 13.3 percent.
“We have achieved huge success in agriculture in the last one decade. Nowadays, Bangladesh has secured third position in vegetables production and fourth in rice production,” she said.
About digital Bangladesh, the premier said, “Today’s Bangladesh is truly a digital Bangladesh as the government has built necessary infrastructures of technology and its huge expansion has also been made.”
The government is now building 28 high-tech parks while works on three of them have already been completed, she continued.