Budget ambitious, but implementable: PM

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina
Prime minister Sheikh HasinaBSS
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Describing the reasons behind placing an ambitious national budget with an 8.2 per cent GDP growth target, prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday hoped that her government will be able to implement it as it did in previous fiscal years.

"We never failed to implement budgets in the past, and Inshallah we won't fail in the future, too. We never suffer from a sense of frustration. We always march forward with a specific work plan fixing a goal," she said.

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The PM said this joining the general discussion in the House on the proposed Tk 5,680 billion budget for 2020-21 fiscal year.

Sheikh Hasina assured the people of the country that the Awami League government will strongly face any possible crisis, not matter what. "No one will remain unfed."

Noting that many people say that the government is very optimistic about the budget, she said.

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"We're hopeful that there'll be a recovery from this situation. So, we've taken this step considering it. If there's no end to COVID (situation), we may not be able to implement it. But, I think, we should have a preparation. So, we placed this ambitious budget. We've placed it as we've a desire to improve the living standard of people."

Hasina mentioned that four assumptions had been taken into account while fixing the 8.2 per cent GDP growth target in the budget placed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We hope the world economy as well as the domestic one will come out gradually from the (adverse) impacts of the COVID-19 in 2021. The Bangladesh economy will return to its previous condition. So, we've estimated an 8.2 per cent GDP growth in the budget for 2020-21 fiscal year," she said.

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Hasina said the government has taken necessary measures to maintain stability in macro economy and low inflation rate.

Elaborating the four assumptions considered in estimation of 8.2 per cent GDP growth, she said though economic activities were hindered, there was no damage to economic infrastructures as happens during natural disasters or wars.

Besides, she said, the supply demand in the domestic market will increase as the public expenditures will go up to create jobs and increase the incomes of people. "And if the stimulus packages announced by the government are implemented, the production and the supply chain will get normal again."

She said it is expected that the vaccine for COVID-19 may come up in the market in October- November next, "and if so, the lifestyle of people will soon get normal in Europe and America, and the export incomes of Bangladesh will return to the previous level.

Besides, Hasina said, fuel prices are on gradual rise in the international market. "So, the present crisis of Bangladesh regarding the overseas employment and remittance will go away."

The prime minister expressed her firm hope that Bangladesh will again resume the march toward its development journey by successfully overcoming the economic impacts caused by COVID-19.

Noting that the government is committed to curbing corruption and establishing good governance, she said its 'zero tolerance policy' against corruption will continue and no one will be spared in this regard.

"To keep up the development trend of the country and uphold our achievements, the government will continue the drive against corruption," she said.

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The prime minister said the government announced 19 stimulus packages of Tk 1,031 billion in a bid to salvage the economy from the COVID-19 fallout.

Noting that some 57 million people have directly been benefited as the implementation of the packages started. "A total of 125.5 million people will be benefited with the package, while 16 million jobs will protected or created when the 19 stimulus packages will fully be implemented."

About poverty, the prime minister said her government alleviated the poverty by 1.4 per cent annually in the last 12 years on average. "The poverty rate declined at 20.5 per cent from 40 per cent."

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