Budget welfare-oriented; work sincerely to implement it: PM 

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Dhaka, June 14: Describing the 2019-20 fiscal budget as people’s welfare-oriented one, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday urged all to work with utmost sincerity to implement it properly.“I can say one thing, this is a people’s welfare budget… all have to work sincerely so that we can take Bangladesh to our desired level…Bangladesh got recognition as a dignified country in the world. The country is moving forward at an irresistible pace…let that pace continue,” the Prime Minister said, UNB reports.

She said this while replying to a volley of questions from journalists at a post-budget press conference.

The Prime Minister briefed journalists about the budget at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here in the afternoon as Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is sick.

Replying to a question over allowing black money whitening scope in the budget for real estate, and industrial investment, Sheikh Hasina said another chance has been given to utlise the money for the development of the country.

“We’ve to bring the black money into the mainstream, or else, it might be siphoned off. To prevent that, we’ve given the chance for investment. All governments, including us, had given such opportunity,” she said.

Hasina mentioned that the government does not want the black money to pile up in the country. “The government wants to get the black money disclosed and invested in the country.”

She said the investment in 100 economic zones and IT parks have been given the opportunity for investing the black money. “But one has to pay 10 percent extra money as fine for investing the black money,” she added.

The Prime Minister admitted that the interest rate in the country is comparatively higher and it grows with a compound rate.

“When the list of the defaulted loan comes out, it comes with the amount of this compound interest rate. If you go to the actual loan amount, you’ll see the number is not that much big. This is the weakness as the defaulted loan means the main amount that one has taken and the amount that calculated through the compound interest rate,” she said.

The Prime Minister said the government is taking effective steps regarding the defaulted loan.  “We’ve already said we’ll give a chance to the person who has defaulted loan for repaying their loans. “

About bringing down the bank interest rate to a single digit, the Prime Minister said in the budget proposal some measurers have already been stated and if anyone defies that, the government would go for tougher action.

“The government is trying to bring the rate under a single digit…it has given some facilities to the banks… the government has given some directives to maintain the single digit interest rate. To implement that, the government will be tough. But before that, we’ve to amend some laws related to the matter,” she said.

As the government has provided so many incentives to the farmers, she said, the country is now having bumper rice production.

Responding to another question, she said the government has taken a number of programmes to establish ‘Sonar Bangla’, a dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

She said providing employment does not mean that the government will ensure government job for everyone. “This means, we’ll ensure an environment where every person will be able to engage in work and earn their bread,” she said.

The Prime Minister said the government is working tirelessly to make the country free from poverty and hunger and provide the fruits of independence to all homes of the country.

She said at present no one can neglect Bangladesh and all have to respect the country. “That’s the achievement of the government,” she added.

Planning Minister MA Mannan, Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzaque, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Industries MinistryNurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, former Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Bangladesh Bank governor Fazle Kabir and NBR chairman M Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan were present at the dais.