Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk:Finance Minister AMA Muhith is set to place a mega budget of around ‘Tk 468,200 crore’ in Parliamenton Thursdayfor the fiscal year 2018-19 amid the fast approaching national election.
Talking to reporters at his Secretariat officeon Monday, the Finance Minister, however, did not want to give any exact figure of the budget size saying it will be more or less Tk 468,000 crore.
Expressing the hope over higher revenue earnings, he said this is a “very helpful indicator’ that the number of taxpayers reached around 33 lakh and most of the new taxpayers are mostly young.
“I feel very good after 10 years,” Muhith said adding that when he started people were unwilling to pay taxes due to harassment. “I don’t think it exists anymore in the country.”
He indicated that there will be an allocation for Rohingya in the next budget.
The Finance Minister is going to set a rare example by placing the 10th consecutive budget of the current government. He will place the budget at12:30pm.
However, this will be his 12th budget so far and also the last one of the current government in its second term.
Though many are viewing the next budget as an election-oriented one, the Finance Minister, however, trashed such observations during pre-budget discussions.
“All the preparations have been completed,” said a Finance Ministry official adding that preparing the Finance Minister’s budget speech is also at the final stage. The budget speech is scheduled to go to BG Presson Tuesdayfor printing.
The revenue collection target for the coming fiscal year is likely to be fixed at Tk 340,775 crore, up 18 percent from that of the current fiscal year. The revenue collection target for fiscal 2017-18 is Tk 287,990 crore.
Finance Ministry officials said the revenue target will be fixed in such a way so that the budget deficit remains within 5 percent.
The allocation for annual development programme (ADP) for the coming fiscal year is likely to be Tk 178,296 crore, up from the outgoing fiscal year.
Earlier, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal forecast that Bangladesh will achieve 8 percent growth by the next fiscal year.
The government is likely to set the GDP target for the upcoming fiscal year at 7.8 percent, said an official.
There might be an announcement to bring more people under social safety net programme in the next budget, officials said.
There is an indication that there will be another announcement for freedom fighters on enhancing their facilities.
Budget discussions usually begin in March every year but this time it began in January which the government thinks a positive thing as it helped the government incorporate many things.
“It’s not an election-oriented budget. I’ve been placing budget every year. I’ve so far placed nine budgets. It’ll be the 10th. I’m looking into it in that perspective (of continuous process),” Muhith said in a pre-budget discussion.
He said he does not think there will be massive changes that necessitate an election-oriented budget.
Sources at the Finance Ministry said the number of taxpayers has increased significantly and it is still rising. The number of taxpayers has hit around 33 lakh which was 14-15 lakh earlier.
The Finance Minister indicated that the tax rate will be reduced as the number of taxpayers is on the rise.
He also indicated that corporate tax rate will also be reduced as the young generation is showing a growing interest in paying income tax.
The government is taking necessary steps to form banking commission soon in an effort to look into the reason behind the current vulnerable situation in the financial sector. It is likely to be placed in the upcoming budget.
The government will put emphasis on boosting domestic investment as the government thinks foreign investors will not be interested to invest in Bangladesh if the domestic private sector investors do not come forward.
The Finance Minister is likely to highlight the issue in his budget speech as he thinks the investment climate has improved creating confidence among investors.
He will also highlight steps to strengthen the country’s capital market.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President AbulKasem Khan said they want the upcoming budget to focus on 4Es — empowerment, encouragement, engagement and environment.
The Finance Minister will hold a post-budget press conference at2:30pmon Fridayat Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city.