The Jatiya Sangsad (JS) today passed a Tk 4.64 trillion national budget for fiscal year 2018-19 setting the GDP growth target at 7.8 per cent in a bid to further alleviate poverty, reduce inequalities and bring basic and qualitative changes in the living standards of the people.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith moved the Appropriations Bill, 2018 seeking a budgetary allocation of Tk 571833,82,92,000 which was passed by voice vote.
Following the proposal mooted in the House by the Finance Ministry for parliamentary approval of appropriation of fund for meeting necessary development and non-development expenditures of the government, the ministers concerned placed justifications for the expenditures by their respective ministries, through 59 demands for grant.
Earlier, parliament rejected by voice vote a total of only 448 cut-motions that were moved in the name of opposition and independent members on 59 demands for grants for different ministries.
A total of nine MPs from Jatiya Party and independent submitted their cut-motions on the budget.
The opposition and independent lawmakers proposed a total of 448 cut motions, but they only spoke on the motions for five demands for grants, which were rejected by voice votes.
They were allowed to participate in the discussion on Higher Secondary and Higher Education Division, Health Ministry, Local Government Division, Disaster Management Ministry and Railways Ministry.
Later, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury applied guillotine to quicken the process of passing the demands for grants for different ministries without giving the lunch break.
Opposition and independent MPs were present in the House when the Appropriation Bill was passed in parliament and they did not raise any voice against passing of the bill.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Finance Bill 2018 was passed in Parliament with some changes in VAT and tariff rates, aiming to boost the ICT sector and promote local industries.
The VAT on internet service lowered to 5.0 per cent from the proposed 15 per cent, while 5.0 per cent additional VAT from assembling mobile phone sets was exempted.
The prices of 10-stick low category cigarettes increased from Tk 32 to Tk 35 while that of high-category 10-stick cigarettes to Tk 105 from Tk 102.
Tariff of per gram Jarda was fixed at Tk 1.20 while that for Gul Tk 0.60.
Supplementary duty from petroleum jelly was waived considering its wide range of use during the winter by the rural and marginal people.
Ten per cent supplementary duty on filament bulbs was scrapped as energy bulbs are still costly for the poor and marginal people. Seven per cent additional VAT on locally produced motorcycles was also exempted.
Muhith, who placed his ten consecutive budgets for the Awami League government and his overall 12th one on June 7, highlighted the economic developments achieved over the past one decade with the present Awami League-led alliance in power.
The size of the national budget for FY19 is Tk 4.64 trillion, or 16.07 per cent, higher than the original budget size of Tk 4.0 trillion of the outgoing fiscal year (FY18), BSS reported.
According to the 166-page budget speech for FY19, Tk 2.91 trillion has been allocated for non-development and other expenditures while the development expenditure has been estimated at Tk 1.73 trillion.