Parliament yesterday passed a Tk 464,573 crore budget for 2018-19 in order to help the government achieve higher economic growth, alleviate poverty, reduce inequalities and bring qualitative changes to people's living standards.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith moved the Appropriations Bill 2018, also known as the spending bill, seeking an allocation of Tk 571,833 crore. The bill was passed by a voice vote.
Later, ministers presented justifications for the expenses by their ministries through 59 demands for grants.
Following the discussion between the treasury and the opposition benches, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury allowed the lawmakers to participate in the discussion on the higher secondary and higher education division, the health ministry, the local government division, the disaster management ministry, and the railways ministry.
Participating in the cut-motion, the independent and opposition lawmakers lambasted Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid for his failure to improve the quality of education.
Jatiya Party MP Fakhrul Imam alleged that GPA-5 certificates were sold in exchange of money – an allegation Nahid denied.
The opposition lawmakers also came down heavily on Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, local government and rural development minister, for his failure to resolve the waterlogging problem in Dhaka city.
The opposition and independent MPs who were present in the House when the Appropriations Bill was passed did not raise any voice.
On June 7, Muhith proposed the budget for the upcoming fiscal year starting on July 1.
In the next fiscal year, the government's revenue earnings would largely depend on the National Board of Revenue to generate revenues, with the revenue administration contributing Tk 296,201 crore in tax.
Other sources such as non-tax revenues will contribute Tk 33,352 crore and non-NBR tax Tk 9,727 crore.
Still, there will be an income-expenditure mismatch of Tk 125,293 crore.
As per Muhith's budget speech, Tk 54,067 crore will be financed from external sources and Tk 71,226 crore will come from domestic sources.
The government will borrow Tk 42,029 crore from the banking system and raise Tk 29,197 crore through the sales of national savings certificates and other non-bank sources.
Sector-wise, the finance minister kept aside the biggest chunk of 14.6 percent for education and technology, 12 percent for transport and communication, 11.1 percent for interest payment, and 7.1 percent for subsidies and incentives.
Besides, 7 percent was set aside for local government and rural development, 6.3 percent for miscellaneous expenditure, 5.6 percent for defence, public order and security and pension each, 5.4 percent for energy and power, and 5.1 percent for social security and welfare.
In the Tk 179, 669 crore development budget, the minister attached the most importance to transport and communication allocating 26.6 percent of the funds, followed by 16.3 percent for education and technology, 15.7 percent for local government and rural development, and 13.8 percent for energy and power. On Wednesday, the House passed the Finance Bill 2018.