Budget aims to ensure welfare of people: Hasina

Bangla Tribune Report
Published : 18:41, Jun 14, 2019 | Updated : 18:53, Jun 14, 2019

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a post-budget press conference at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, Dhaka on Friday (Jun 14). FOCUS BANGLAThe proposed national budget for 2019-20 fiscal aims to ensure social welfare and wellbeing for ordinary citizens, says Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Addressing the post-budget press conference on Friday, she said that the Tk 5.23 trillion spending plan for the upcoming fiscal is the biggest-ever budget in the country’s history.
“All parties will work together to implement the budget,” she told the media call at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
Hasina, the president of the ruling Awami League, appeared before the media to brief on the budget for the first time as Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has taken ill.
The media briefing began around 3:00pm. The prime minister took questions from the journalists after reading out a summary of the proposed budget, which was presented in Parliament on Thursday.
In a rare turn of events, Hasina also read a part of Finance Minister Kamal’s budget speech in parliament he was struggling with ill health.
The government unveiled a Tk 5.23 trillion budget targeting a GDP growth of 8.2 percent and hoping to keep inflation below 5.5 percent in FY20.
The proposed budget sets out a revenue target of over Tk 3.77 trillion. More than Tk 3.25 trillion is expected to come through the National Board of Revenue.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a post-budget press conference at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, Dhaka on Friday (Jun 14). FOCUS BANGLAThe deficit stands at Tk 1.45 trillion, which is 5 percent of the GDP.
Hasina said her administration aims to achieve 10 percent GDP growth by FY24.
To achieve a double digit GDP by FY 24, the GDP growth rate in the proposed budget for FY20 has been targeted at 8.2 percent for as the GDP grew consistently at a very high rate over the last decade, she added.
Hasina said that the government also plans to create 30 million new jobs by 2030.
Underscoring the need for reforms to the financial sector, Hasina warned of stern action against wilful loan defaulters.
“We will take stern action against the wilful loan defaulters to bring discipline to the financial sector,” she said.
Hitting back at critics of the new budget, the prime minister said some people in the country “suffer from a mental condition which prevents them from finding anything good.”
Her comments came in a clear reference to private think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), which said the proposed budget has nothing for the mid-income group and it will only favour ‘beneficiaries of economic mismanagement’ and the high-income group.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is briefing the media at the event, which started at 3pm on Friday (Jun 14) at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.“They can’t find anything positive while ordinary people are benefitting from a democratic process and economic growth,” said Hasina.
Questioning the research work and contributions of CPD to the country, Hasina said, “They have to say something which is fine. Yet despite voicing all this criticism, they’ll say, ‘we are not allowed to talk.’ They suffer from this condition. It’s like a sickness.”
Response of ordinary citizens is the government’s only concern, the prime minister said before adding, “What’s important is whether the ordinary people are happy and that they are benefitting from the budget.”
This is the first budget of the Awami League government in its third successive term and also the first one for Mustafa Kamal as the finance minister.
The proposed national budget for FY20 has largely focused on infrastructure, along with a major push to scale up social safety net and other nationally important projects.