In this year’s budget speech, the finance minister did not say anything about the opportunity to whiten black money. Yesterday, however, he said he had a mixed opinion about it.
The finance minister argued for much higher tax breaks for traders in the proposed budget. He said, ‘Tax collection will increase only if the tax rate is gradually reduced. And the budget is completely business friendly. People’s needs change. Traders also change to meet demand. We also have to see what the whole world is doing. If the developed world lags behind, we will not be able to move forward. Because we also need the developed world. Today, the US economy teaches us how close we are to each other.
The Finance Minister said this in response to the question of the journalists at the proposed budget-North Virtual Press Conference for the next 2021-22 financial year. Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzak, Planning Minister MA Mannan, Prime Minister’s Finance Adviser Moshiur Rahman, Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir, Finance Secretary Abdur Rauf Talukder, National Board of Revenue Chairman Abu Hena. Rahmatul Munim, Member of the General Economics Department of the Planning Commission Shamsul Alam, Secretary of the Financial Institutions Department Asadul Islam and Secretary of the Economic Relations Department (ERD) Fatima Yasmin held the Q&A press conference.
“We are committed to the business community,” he said. As a result, they will take the opportunity. Taking advantage means going into production. As soon as they go into production, employment opportunities will be created. I have started using the tagline “Made in Bangladesh”. It is a timely step. Wherever there are possibilities and capabilities, everything will be put to use. In addition, in the future, the domestic industry will be given more protection by reducing VAT. VAT will not be increased. It will be reduced to collect more revenue.
A month after the decision to pour opportunity
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal did not say anything in his budget speech on Thursday about the opportunity to launder black money. However, when asked yesterday, he replied that he was not extending the deadline till June 30.
The finance minister also explained the reason. At first, he said, it was not black money, but undisclosed income. There is a difference between black money and undisclosed income. Undisclosed income is due to systemic problems. According to him, the reason for not keeping the opportunity anew is that it did not bring much benefit. Apart from that, there are mixed opinions in this regard. Some say it’s good, some say it’s bad.
A month after the final decision on the opportunity to pour black money. Imposing more taxes has done injustice to traders. There is an allocation of Rs 14,200 crore for one year vaccination. Alternative ways are being considered to bring transparency in health sector shopping. Debt-GDP is 100 percent of China and India, less than 40 percent of Bangladesh.
After the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Procurement, the Finance Minister told reporters on May 19 that as long as there is undisclosed income, there will be an opportunity to whitewash it. Referring to the matter, the finance minister was asked yesterday what was the reason for deviating from the decision within two weeks.
In reply, the finance minister said, “When I said that, I did not have proper information till then. If it is profitable, I will try to see if it can be continued. Many say that if this continues, justice will not be ensured in the society. See you in a month. Then the decision will be made. ‘
Mentioning that money that is not in any declaration (system) cannot be used, the finance minister said, if this money turns into a displayed income, its impact on the economy is far-reaching. Black money is created through corruption and undisclosed income is created due to systemic problems. It was seen that the tax rate is 50, 55 or 60 percent. It’s unfair. Many injustices have been done to the people of this country, especially to the traders. There was a time when much more income tax was levied. It was said that those who would earn more would have to pay more taxes. But the opposite was supposed to happen.
According to Section 19 of the Income Tax Ordinance, however, there is an opportunity to whiten the black money by buying a flat with a certain amount of tax in the area. There is also an opportunity to whitewash black money in the industrial sector till 2024. And in addition to the prescribed tax, there is an opportunity to announce it with a 10 percent fine.
Unexplained when vaccinating
Finance Minister Mustafa Kamal had a journalist’s question that he said in his budget speech that 2.5 million doses of vaccine would be given every month. It will take four years to pay in this way.
After hearing the question, the finance minister first said, ‘Where did you get this information?’ In response, the journalist said, “It is said in your budget statement.”
On page 45 of the budget speech, the finance minister said last Thursday, “A plan has been drawn up to bring 80 per cent of the people under vaccination. In the first phase, people at risk will be vaccinated and 2.5 million will be vaccinated every month.
The finance minister did not directly answer the question. He just said, ‘In the beginning, there was no one to vaccinate even after miking. However, everyone will be brought under the ticker. I have also arranged money for this. We are ready. Not by tying the time. ‘
On the advice of the Finance Minister, Finance Secretary Abdur Rauf Talukder also answered questions on health sector and vaccination. He said the allocation for vaccination for one year is 14 thousand 200 crore rupees. If necessary, money can be taken from other sectors.
This year’s budget of the health sector is Tk 32,731 crore, which is 5.4 percent of the total budget. Besides, Tk 10,000 crore is being set aside to meet urgent needs. The finance secretary said there is no problem with allocation, the problem is spending capacity. The health sector lacks experience in shopping. Alternative ways are being considered to bring transparency in shopping.
Employment is not possible alone
There is criticism that there is nothing clear in the new budget on the employment of the unemployed. Even for those who have recently become poor or lost their jobs due to the epidemic, there is nothing clear in the budget proposal. There is a kind of criticism for this.
In response to such a question, the finance minister said, it is not possible for the government alone to create employment. The private sector also has to take this responsibility. In order for them to create employment, facilities have been provided in the proposed budget.
The finance minister said the private sector should be given a driver’s seat. Only then will they move forward. The government will cooperate so that they can do that.
“Almost all the indicators of our economy are moving in a positive direction,” he said. No matter what you say, our position is not only in Asia, but in the whole world. Debt is still below 40 percent of GDP. But in China it is 100 percent. The situation is almost the same in India.
Shamsul Alam, a member of the Planning Commission’s general economics department, said investment now stands at 31 per cent of the economy’s 60 per cent gross domestic product (GDP). He said if the private sector is in the driver’s seat, the economy will be revived. The budget has been proposed that way.
The budget deficit has become very large and the target of borrowing from abroad to meet the deficit is too high and it will be possible to take it in the end. The Finance Minister gave the responsibility to the Planning Minister MA Mannan to answer this question. The planning minister said, ‘There is no reason to have doubts. The finance minister is confident in this regard.
The budget speech does not say much about the incentive packages, Finance Secretary Abdur Rauf Talukder said, adding that the activities will continue until the 23 incentive packages are fully implemented. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that more packages will come if needed. He also said that Tk 4,500 crore is being subsidized from the revenue for the implementation of the incentive package.
Questions that were not answered
With one exception, the allocation of public-private partnership (PPP) sector has not been working for a decade. Despite this failure, no one has answered the question as to why it has been proposed to set aside Rs 3,500 crore for the next financial year.
Despite the fact that corruption is a big problem, there is no mention of any measures to prevent the corruption that is being perpetrated by a section of people from the finance ministry to various ministries and departments. Why not? The finance minister himself did not answer this question, nor did he ask anyone else to do so.
The finance minister had more questions, why he did not say anything in the budget speech about the defense sector despite being important? Did he forget or avoid? In response, the finance minister said he could not bring everything in the budget speech. This does not mean that the account of this sector has gone out. Mustafa Kamal also asked the finance secretary to reply in this regard. The finance secretary said defense is a very important sector. In this year’s budget, the allocation for this sector has increased by 7 percent.
Prime Minister’s Finance Adviser Moshiur Rahman said there was a shortage of potable water in the Khulna region. Fazle Kabir, the governor of Bangladesh Bank, gave an account of how much money has been loaned from which package. NBR Chairman Abu Hena said. Although Rahmatul Munim got the opportunity, Asadul Islam, Secretary of the Financial Institutions Department and Fatima Yasmin, ERD Secretary did not get a chance to answer any question.