There'll be no space to keep money once the universal pension scheme starts: Kamal

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presented the 2023-24 fiscal budget in the Jatiya Sangsad on 1 June, 2023PID

After presenting the Tk 7.62 trillion (Tk 761,785 crore) budget in the Jatiya Sangsad, finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal spoke to Prothom Alo over mobile phone Thursday night.

He said, he has presented a budget that will please all concerned. However, he added, he had tried to keep the low income persons the happiest. The 2023-24 fiscal budget was basically a poor-friendly one, he added.

The finance minister said he could foresee that the country would be reaching a very good position in the near future. The dollar crisis would be overcome too. Export revenue and remittance were moving in a positive direction.

Speaking about inflation, the finance minister said this would come under control and that he was taking steps accordingly. Explaining his strategy, he said, "We will import less. And we will provide safety nets to the low income groups. There are all sorts of announcements for them in the proposed budget. Allowances are being increased and the beneficiaries of the allowances are being increased too. All policy measures that can be taken for low income people, are being taken."

He further said that earlier there would be two crops harvested in the country, now three, adding that this made him hopeful, "We will gradually turn from being an import based country to an export based one. We will provide more subsidies to the agricultural sector. We have no shortage of funds for the agro sector."

Referring to the universal pension scheme, the finance minister said, once the universal pension scheme is started, there will be no space to keep money. Revenue will pour in. There are several other ways being created to increase revenue. Toll will be collected from every bridge, including Padma Bridge.

Mustafa Kamal lauded the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s advice to increase revenue, saying this institution always gives sound advice. Their advice is always helpful in taking decisions, he said.

He also said they always point to alternative ways and means. The institution shows more paths to proceed along than the World Bank. The World Bank chooses a simplistic way.

The income tax act will be passed in this session of parliament, the finance minister said. He added that the parliamentary standing committee would first discuss various aspects of this bill.