Muhith set to place ‘Tk 4.682tr’ budget Thursday

Prothom Alo English | Update:

Abul Maal Abdul Muhith. File PhotoFinance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith is set to place the national budget of around Tk 4.68 trillion in parliament on Thursday for the fiscal year 2018-19 amid the fast approaching national election, reports UNB.

Meanwhile, the last budget session of the 10th parliament begins tomorrow, Tuesday.

Talking to reporters at his secretariat office on 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 [4.68 trillion]”.

Expressing the hope over higher revenue earnings, he said this is a "very helpful indicator' that the number of taxpayers reached around 3.3 million 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."

The finance minister is going to set a rare example by placing the 10th consecutive budget of the current government. He would place the budget at 12:30pm.

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 Press on Tuesday for printing.

The revenue collection target for the coming fiscal year is likely to be fixed at Tk 3.407 trillion, 18 percent up from that of the current fiscal year. The revenue collection target for fiscal 2017-18 is Tk 2.879 trillion 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 1.78 trillion, 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.

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