Muhith says next budget to eye 7.2 pc GDP growth
Reported by: UNBconnect
Reported on: May 13, 2012 04:52 pm
Reported in: Business
Dhaka, May 13 (UNB) – Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Sunday said the next national budget for fiscal 2012-13 will have a target to achieve a GDP growth of 7.2 percent and keep the inflation rate within 7.5 percent.“The next budget won’t be an election budget. It’ll be the budget for the sake of the country, for the welfare of the public and for the sake of development,” he said while addressing a pre-budget meeting with the editors of different print and electronic media held at the Ministry of Finance.There will be no such stress and strains in the next budget, Muhith said adding, “We expect a robust domestic resource mobilisation next year.”Replying to a question from News Today editor Reazuddin Ahmed, Muhith said the economic condition would improve further next year and expected that there would be higher growth, lesser inflation and higher export.In response to another question from Boishakhi TV CEO Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, the Finance Minister said inflation would decline the way it does now if there are good supplies and good income growth.He also hinted that subsidies would decrease in petroleum products and power next year as there were no such adjustments in the last three years and it can also be termed as the failure of the government.As the petroleum products are mostly import-based, he said, the government often faces problem as its prices are not associated with international price which is seen in neighboring Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives except Bhutan.Muhith said the government would chalk out a formula on price adjustment expressing his concern that it would be difficult to implement. “We’ll have the decision by early next year, but its implementation will begin in the course of time, but certainly not in this June and July.” On the provision for whitening black money, the Finance Minister informed that decision is yet to be taken in this regard.He told another questioner that the amount of allowances under different social safety net programmes would not increase in the next budget, rather the number of beneficiaries might be increased like in widow and maternal allowances.Replying to another query, Muhith said microcredit is a programme of the present government and it is not only Grameen Bank (GB) as it is more than double that of GB.He said around 3,000 different institutions, including some big ones like Brac, Asa, Proshika are operating their microcredit programmes and their recovery is very high.On the suggestion for increasing tax exemption, the Finance Minister said the decision is yet to be taken in this regard. “Decisions will be taken in the next 10 days.”About issuing sovereign bond, he said the government is examining the pros and cons. Muhith, however, did not give any hint at reducing different corporate tax rates though these prevail high in Bangladesh.On reducing the country’s dependence on foreign aid, Muhith observed that the foreign aid in the current year is less than 1 percent of GDP and it should be 3 percent of GDP.He also held responsible to some extent the incompetence of the government as well as its mentality for low foreign aid disbursement. The Finance Minister also opined for increasing the foreign direct investment (FDI) to help the country’s economy grow.Citing that there are many projects being implemented under the public private partnership (PPP) initiatives, the Finance Minister said PPP would be an important element by the time the present government leaves office.Masranga TV CEO Syed Fahim Munaim, Director and head of news of Channel i Shykh Seraj, Boishakhi TV CEO Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, News Today editor Reazuddin Ahmed, Syed Anwar Hossain and Baby Moudud were, among others, present on the occasion.
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