Published:  03:04 AM, 15 June 2019

Help execute welfare-oriented budget

Help execute welfare-oriented budget Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a press briefing on the proposed national budget for FY2019-20 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city yesterday. -PID

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought cooperation of all to properly implement the budget, which she called 'public welfare-oriented', for turning Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous nation.

"I can say one thing. This is a public welfare-oriented budget... All have to work sincerely to ensure that we take Bangladesh to our desired level" she said at a post-budget press conference at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) yesterday.

The prime minister briefed the media about the proposed budget for FY 2010-2010 as finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal was sick. It was the first time in the history of Bangladesh that a prime minister addressed a post-budget media briefing.

Mustafa Kamal unveiled the proposed national budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, beginning on July 1, with an outlay of Tk 5.23 trillion (523,190 crore), giving maximum focus on infrastructure development.It the first annual spending and revenue earning plan of the Awami League government after it assumed office through the Dec 30, 2018 general election.

In the briefing, the prime minister said she wants Bangladesh to continue the forward march at the current indomitable pace to be the 'Sonar Bangla' as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. "Bangabandhu made Bangladesh independent.

The country has earned honor from the entire world as a role model of development. We want Bangladesh to continue the march maintaining the dignity," she said. Replying to a question on budgetary provision to allow whitening black money in real estate and industrial investment, Sheikh Hasina said another chance has been given to utlize the money for the development of the country.

"We have to bring the black money into the mainstream; otherwise it might be siphoned off. To prevent that, we've given the chance for investment. All governments, including us, had given such scope," she said. The prime minister said the government does not want the black money to pile up in the country. "The government wants to get the black money disclosed and invested in the country."

Former Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Agriculture Minister Md Abdur Razzaque, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, Planning Minister MA Mannan, National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Fazle Kabir were on the dais with the prime minister. Taking a swipe at the critics of the budget, the prime minister said there are some people who find fault in everything because of their mental sickness.

"There're some people who're mentally sick... They like nothing. When a democratic system exists and development is achieved they don't see anything good in that. It's a kind of [mental] sickness," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said, "I don't know what research they're [research organisations] doing. The main thing is whether the general people are happy or not, whether we're being able to do good for them."She went on saying, "Those who want to criticize, let them do it... If they say anything good, we'll accept that, if they say anything bad, we'll reject it."

Sheikh Hasina admitted that the interest rate in the country is comparatively high and it grows with a compound rate.
"When the list of the loan defaulters comes out, it comes with the amount of this compound interest rate. If you go to the actual loan amount, you'll see the number is not that much big," she said.

The prime minister said the government is taking effective steps regarding defaulted loans. "We've already announced that we'll give a chance to the persons who have defaulted on loan repayment without their will."To a question on bringing down the bank interest rates to a single digit, she said some measurers have already been stated in the budget proposal and if anyone defies that, the government would go for tougher action.

"The government is trying to bring the rate under a single digit... It has given some facilities to the bank and directed them to maintain the single digit interest rate. To implement that, the government will be tough. But before that, we have to amend some relevant laws," the prime minister said.

Replying to another question, she said providing employment does not mean that the government will ensure government job for everyone. "It means we'll ensure an environment where every person will be able to engage in work and earn their living."

The prime minister said the government is working tirelessly to make the country free from poverty and hunger and provide the fruits of independence to all of the country.She said now no one can neglect Bangladesh and all have to respect the country. "That's the achievement of the government."

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