Keep AL in power to level up from LDC
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said government employees will get an additional 5 percent of their basic pay from July to compensate for the runaway inflation.
Addressing parliament yesterday on the proposed budget for fiscal 2023-24, she requested the finance minister to consider paying the special increment "during this emergency".
"I hope the finance minister will accept this," she said.
Government officials have been demanding a raise amid rising prices of essentials, and the move is expected to cost the government Tk 4,000 crore, said finance ministry sources.
Government officials usually get a 5 percent increment each year. The new raise will be in addition to the usual increment.
Whether the increment would continue once inflation subsides was not said.
In her address yesterday, Hasina also told parliament that the people need to keep Awami League in power so that Bangladesh becomes a developing country by 2026.
"Who will be able to implement it if we don't come [to power again]? Show me a person who will be able to do it. Show me a person who will work selflessly for the country. If you can show me such leadership, I have no objection," she said.
Since the people voted the AL to power time and again, the government has been able to serve the country and bring it on track of development, she said.
The prime minister said this budget was the 15th budget in a row for AL governments and the last for the current government's tenure. "But the people of Bangladesh will decide whether it is the final budget or not. I am giving the responsibility of that decision to the people," she added.
The PM said her government is taking necessary measures to keep the wheels of the economy rolling despite various obstacles, resistances, and criticism.
"Hadn't there been the Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine war, Bangladesh could have gone far on its development journey.
"Do not get upset seeing problems," she said, adding that it is normal that problems come from time to time.
"When the economies of many developed countries are struggling, we've been able to give a record budget," she said.
She highlighted various steps taken for economic development and to rein in inflation.
Hasina said her government was able to reduce poverty significantly. "Today the unemployment rate is only three percent," she said.
Coming down heavily on the critics of the budget, Hasina said, "We are used to hearing such things."
After the PM, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in his speech said that to protect the people from inflation, the government has taken various initiatives including increasing allowances under the social safety net programmes. About 4.5 crore people will benefit from the initiatives, he said.
The government is providing food to one crore families free of cost or at subsidised rates, he said.
At yesterday's parliamentary session, the tax measures for the next fiscal year were approved. The measures are expected to yield Tk 430,000 crore.
However, the proposal to collect Tk 2,000 as minimum tax from those who claim their income is below the taxable threshold was scrapped.
The government faced criticism from different quarters, which termed it discriminatory and contradictory.
The finance minister proposed legalising movable and immovable assets abroad acquired with undeclared income in Bangladesh in exchange for a certain amount in taxes in the next fiscal year.
Though the tenure to avail the facility was June 30, no one had taken the opportunity. The government also did not extend it to the next fiscal.