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Budget aims to create prosperity for all: PM

Wilful defaulters to face music, critics are mentally sick, she says

Published : Saturday, 15 June, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 209

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina making a point at the post-budget press conference at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital on Friday.	Photo: PMO

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina making a point at the post-budget press conference at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital on Friday. Photo: PMO

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said the proposed budget for the fiscal 2019-20 is a pro-people budget.
It is aimed at bringing welfare and wellbeing to all people, she said seeking cooperation of all to implement the budget.
"Our sole aim is to turn Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous country soon," Sheikh Hasina said at a post budget press conference on Friday at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.
She spoke to the media as Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal was sick and unable to attend the event. Earlier on Thursday, she also partly read out the budget in parliament as the Finance Minister felt incapacitated to continue.
Former Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Planning Minister MA Mannan, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Agriculture Minister
Dr. Md Abdur Razzaque, Industry Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir and National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan were on the dais with the Prime Minister.
Finance Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder moderated the press conference.
Earlier Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal unveiled the proposed budget for 2019-20 on Thursday at a cost of Tk 5,23,190 crore to parliament.
Sheikh Hasina said the government targets to create 3 crore jobs in the country by 2030. On critical views about budget from some research critics the Prime Minister slammed them saying 'they are mentally sick.'   
"I don't know what research they are doing. The main thing is whether the general people are happy or not, whether we're being able to do good for them," she said.  
She further said, "I don't know what they'll bring for the country through research. Our target is to make the country free from poverty and achieve development…we're working to this end…Bangladesh is no longer a country of beggars."
She also said her government has planned to achieve 10 per cent GDP growth by 2023-24 fiscal. To achieve the double digit GDP the proposed budget has targeted 8.2 per cent in 2019-20 and it would steadily grow in our hands, he said.
Sheikh Hasina said the target of the budget is to implement the election manifesto of her government.
Laying emphasis on developing the education sector, Hasina said it has been given the highest priority in the new budget. The Prime Minister also said Bangladesh is now on top in eliminating gender disparity in South Asian countries.
She hit back at critics of the new budget and asked them to learn to praise good things without keeping their mind closed. She said the government's spending plan for the next year is aimed at ensuring the welfare of the ordinary citizens.
She said the government has also allocated Tk 25,732 crore for the health sector in the proposed budget to improve the quality of health services and expand its outreach to all throughout the country.
She particularly lamented comment by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) which said the proposed budget has nothing for the mid-income groups; it will only favour 'beneficiaries of economic mismanagement' and the high-income groups.
Hasina stressed that the new budget is the 11th budget of her government adding "benefits of our initiatives are already reaching the people. And those who are part of the unhappy party won't find anything positive here."  
Underscoring the need for reforms to the financial sector, Hasina warned of stern action against wilful loan defaulters. "We will take stern action against the willful defaulters to bring discipline to the financial sector," she said.
She said the government's only concern is "whether the ordinary people are happy and that they are benefitting from the budget."
She said the budget has largely focused on infrastructure building, along with a major push to scale up social safety net and other nationally important projects. The Prime Minister said she wanted Bangladesh to go ahead as it is heading towards development on all fronts at an indomitable pace.
"It is relentlessly working to establish Bangladesh as 'Sonar Bangla' as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman," she said.
"Bangabandhu made Bangladesh independent. It has earned respect from the entire world as a role model for development. We want Bangladesh to step forward in dignity," she said.
Spelling out various initiatives proposed in the budget, she said education, health, social safety net, agriculture communication, power, energy and ICT sectors, creating a fund of Tk 100 crore to create employment for unemployed youths, have got top priority.  
The budget a wholly 'public welfare-oriented' budget, she said answering questions from newsmen on the occasion.

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