Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Friday said that the proposed budget for the next fiscal year (FY24) has been awarded to all sections of people, including rich and poor, while all the projections made in the budget would be attained as like the previous years.
"We've awarded this budget to all sections of people, including rich and poor," he said.
The Finance Minister said this while replying to a barrage of questions at a post-budget press conference held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) Friday afternoon.
He also categorically said that the proposed budget for FY24 has not been framed and thus placed in Jatiya Sangsad in line with the suggestions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Kamal said that the IMF usually gives suggestions to its member countries on maintaining balance sheet as well as properly maintaining income and expenditure accounts, which is a good thing.
He said the IMF not only helps the member countries with credit support, but also extends support in project delivery in a flawless way. "We often become benefitted with their suggestions. But, I want to categorically say that this budget has not been framed and placed in JS in line with the recommendations of the IMF. We can only take their (IMF's) suggestions which we feel necessary,"
Yesterday, the Finance Minister placed a Taka 7,61,785 crore budget for the next fiscal year at Jatiya Sangsad aiming at 7.5 percent GDP growth rate and also to contain inflation at 6 percent.
Agriculture Minister Dr M Abdur Razzaque, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni, Planning Minister MA Mannan, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, LGRD Minister Md Tajul Islam, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, Prime Minister's Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman, State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam, Cabinet Secretary Mahbub Hossain, Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder, NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, Finance Division Senior Secretary Fatima Yasmin, ERD Secretary Sharifa Khan and Planning Division Secretary Satyajit Karmakar were present at the dais of the press conference.
Turning to the main aspects of the budget, the Finance Minister said although the number of middle class is higher in the country, they usually do not pay tax as per their ability. "But, now it's high time to pay tax, even the World Bank and the IMF also made suggestions like this. Those who have taxable income and have enough capability will have to pay tax."
Kamal also assured that no one would be subject to injustice in the process of paying tax.
The Finance Minister said that the government did not fail in fulfilling the commitments of the budget over the years, adding, "We won't fail this year and also in the coming years too...it's my firm belief that we won't be defeated, we'll be victorious, Insha Allah,"
Asked about the proposed mandatory provision of paying Taka 2,000 as tax for the TIN holders in the budget, the Finance Minister said that those who pay tax, would have to pay tax under this provision.
Supplementing this, NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem said that becoming TIN holders is not mandatory for poor people, rather those who have various trade related licenses and who are the owners of houses, flats and cars would have to become TIN holders and thus pay tax.
"Those who are in this category will have to pay tax annually and through paying tax it should also be a matter of pride for them," he added.
Answering a question, the Finance Minister said that the government would be able to fulfill whatever commitments it has made in the budget.
He said that when the Awami League government assumed office in 2009, the revenue collection target was only Taka 59,000 crore, but with the passage of time, it has reached around Taka 2,95,000 crore. "So, the achievements are not small. We'll be able to attain it, Insha Allah,"
Kamal also affirmed that whatever commitments made in the budget over the last years, were fulfilled as massive employments were created over the last five years, which was a good achievement.
Besides, the government took various measures to increase employment side by side the "Made in Bangladesh" concept is also yielding better for the country.
Replying to another question about the corporate tax which has witnessed no cut in this budget, the Finance Minister said that the corporate tax rates have been reduced in the country and it would be reduced further as per necessity.
Echoing with the Finance Minister, the NBR chairman said no one should posse such a mindset that the corporate tax would have to be reduced every year. "Otherwise, the scope for revenue generation will be squeezed," he said.
Mentioning that the corporate tax rates have been reduced to 27 percent from 45 percent over the years, Muneem said that all would have to come out of the mindset of not paying tax. "All will have to have the mindset of paying tax for the sake of the country."
Replying to another question, the Finance Minister said that they did not continue the provision of extending amnesty to those who have laundered money abroad since it brought no response.
When sought his comments about the steps in budget to rein in inflation, Kamal said although the government is a bit worried about it, but it is still under control.
"The whole of the world is going through inflationary pressure. We're moving ahead in a flexible way to tackle inflation and we're trying to control those factors which cause inflation and we'll continue to do so," he said, adding that the government may relax some conditions in this regard if there is any necessity.
Kamal said when the Awami League government assumed office in 2009, the inflation rate was then around 12 percent, but after that the annual average inflation remained at 6 percent for 10 years.
But, the entire world is now going through huge inflationary pressure, he said, adding that Bangladesh is now in better condition compared to India, Malaysia and Thailand under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Kamal said whatever Bangladesh is taking credit from the IMF is the total of the inward remittance of one and half months and there is nothing to be worried about it. "Despite the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, Bangladesh is in a good position," he added.
Answering another question, the Finance Minister said that he is highly satisfied with the proposed budget and he wants to be further satisfied through cooperation of all.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said that they are trying hard to keep the price and supply of essentials within the capacity of the commoners.
In this regard, he mentioned the distribution of essential items to some one crore families at an affordable price benefitting some five crore people. "When the import cost of essential items becomes higher, obviously the prices go up...the situation won't be changed overnight. Bangladesh is still in better condition compared to the global scenario."