Parliament Correspondent: The Jatiya Sangsad (JS) on Thursday passed a Tk 4,64,573 crore national budget for fiscal 2018-19 setting the GDP growth target at 7.8 percent in a bid to further alleviate poverty, reduce inequalities and bring basic and qualitative changes in the living standards of the people.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith moved the Appropriation Bill, 2018 seeking a budgetary allocation of Tk 571833,82,92,000 which was passed by voice vote.
Following the proposal mooted in the House by the Finance Ministry for parliamentary approval of appropriation of fund for meeting necessary development and non-development expenditures of the government, the ministers concerned placed justifications for the expenditures by their respective ministries, through 59 demands for grant.
Earlier, parliament rejected by voice vote a total of only 448 cut-motions that stood in the name of opposition and independent members on 59 demands for grants for different ministries.
A total of nine MPs from Jatiya Party and independent submitted their cut-motions on the budget.
The opposition and independent lawmakers proposed a total of 448 cut motions, but they only spoke on the motions for five demands for grants, which were rejected by voice votes.
They were allowed to participate in the discussion on Higher Secondary and Higher Education Division, Health Ministry, Local Government Division, Disaster Management Ministry and Railways Ministry.
Later, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury applied guillotine to quicken the process of passing the demands for grants for different ministries without giving the lunch break.
Opposition and independent MPs were present in the House when the Appropriation Bill was passed in parliament and they did not raise any voice against passing of the bill.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Finance Bill 2018 was passed in Parliament with some changes in VAT and tariff rates, aiming to boost the ICT sector and promote local industries.
The VAT on internet service lowered to 5 percent from the proposed 15 percent, while 5 percent additional VAT from assembling mobile phone sets was exempted.
The prices of 10-stick low category cigarettes increased from Tk 32 to Tk 35 while that of high-category 10-stick cigarettes to Tk 105 from Tk 102.
Tariff of per gram Jarda was fixed at Tk 1.20 while that for Gul Tk 0.60.
Supplementary duty from petroleum jelly was waived considering its wide range of use during the winter by the rural and marginal people.
Ten percent supplementary duty on filament bulbs was scrapped as energy bulbs are still costly for the poor and marginal people. Seven percent additional VAT on locally produced motorcycles was also exempted.
Muhith, who placed his ten consecutive budgets for the AL government and his overall 12th one on June 7, highlighted the economic developments achieved over the past one decade with the present AL-led alliance in power.
The size of the national budget for FY19 is Tk 4,64,573 crore or 16.07 percent higher than the original budget size of Tk 4,00,266 crore of the outgoing fiscal year (FY18).
According to the 166-page budget speech for FY19, Tk 2,91,573 crore have been allocated for non-development and other expenditures while the development expenditure has been estimated at Tk 1,73,000 crore.
Besides, Tk 7,869.17 crore has been allocated for projects to be implemented through self-finance of autonomous bodies.
As a result, the total size of the ADP will stand at Tk 1,80,869.17 crore. Out of the overall ADP allocation, Tk 1,19,810.95 crore will come from the local sources, while Tk 61,058.22 crore from foreign ones.
The original ADP outlay for the FY19 is 16.59 percent or Tk 24,619 crore higher than that of the revised allocation for the current fiscal year of FY18.
The target for GDP growth has been set at 7.8 percent in the next fiscal while the target for containing inflation in the next fiscal year has been set at 5.6 percent.
The overall budget deficit will be Tk 1,25,293 crore which is 4.9 per cent of GDP. Of the amount, Tk 54,067 crore will be financed from external sources while an amount of Tk 71,226 crore will be financed from domestic sources.
Of the domestic sources, Tk 42,029 crore will be borrowed from the banking system while Tk 29,197 crore from National Savings Schemes and other non-bank sources.
The salaries and allowances of government servants, interest payment and subsidies will account for over half of the non-development expenditure.
In the budget, 27.34 percent of the total outlay has been allocated for social infrastructure of which 24.37 per cent allocation will go to human resource development, 30.99 per cent for physical infrastructure of which 12.68 per cent will go to overall agriculture, 11.43 per cent for overall communication sector and 5.36 per cent for power and energy sector.
Besides, 25.30 per cent of total allocation have been proposed for general services and 4.78 per cent for Public Private Partnership (PPP), financial assistance for various industries, subsidies and equity investments in various nationalised corporations, banks, and financial institutions, 11.05 per cent for interest payment and the rest 0.54 for net lending and other expenditures.
In FY2018-19, the total revenue income has been estimated at Tk 3,39,280 crore and out of this target, an amount of Tk 2,96,201 crore will come from the NBR sources. Alongside, Tk 9,727 crore will come as tax from non-NBR sources while Tk 33,352 crore from non-tax sources.
The minister has kept the tax exemption threshold unchanged for the next fiscal year except that of the threshold for a parent or guardian of a person with disability will be Tk 400,000 in place of Tk 375,000.
Mentioning the tax rates for banks and financial institutions as a bit higher than other corporate sector, the finance minister also reduced the tax rate for banks and financial institutions by 2.5 percent at 37.5 percent.
He has reduced the tax rate of manufacturer and exporter of readymade garments to 15 percent and if any such taxpayer is a public limited company, the tax rate will be 12.5 percent. Any garment factory having green building certification shall enjoy a tax rate of 12 percent.
Finance minister also kept a sizeable amount for expediting the 10 growth-generating large projects, identified as ‘Mega Projects’, which are: (1) Padma Multi-purpose Bridge Project (2) Padma Rail Bridge Project (3) Rooppur Nuclear Power Project (4) Rampal Coal-based Power Project (5) Chattogram-Dohajari to Ramu-Cox’s Bazar and Ramu-Gundum Railway Construction Project (6) Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (7) Construction of Paira Seaport (First Phase) Project (8) Sonadia Deep Seaport (9) Matarbari Ultrasupercritical Coal-fired Power Project and (10) Construction of Maheshkhali Floating LNG Terminal Project.
With the passage of both the Appropriation Bill-2018 and the Finance Bill-2018, the national budget of Tk4,64,573 crore for fiscal 2018-19 got the approval of the JS on the day, just before the current financial year that ends on Saturday._BSS
risingbd/Dhaka/June 28, 2018/Asad/AI