The Public Debt Bill 2021 was tabled in parliament on Tuesday, providing for a maximum of six months' imprisonment and a Tk1 lakh fine for buying savings certificates through false information.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal introduced the bill in parliament, with the aim of making the existing law time-befitting.
Jatiya Party lawmaker Fakhrul Imam, objecting to the bill, posed a question, "Can the government borrow from people according to the constitution?"
"And can a law be made for this? What will be the amount of the debt? After presenting the outlay of a budget, the government collects money from the people as taxes. Where does the money go?" he questioned.
The lawmaker requested the finance minister not to come up with anything that would expose the country's bankruptcy.
In reply, Mustafa Kamal said that the current debt law was enacted during the British era in 1944. Therefore, in the present situation, a complete law is required, he added.
The bill was later sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Finance for further scrutiny. The committee will submit its report to parliament within the next 15 days.
In September, the cabinet approved the draft law aimed at formulating sustainable credit policies and plans, creating credit strategies, assessing debt risk and modernising the government's borrowing process. The law has 40 sections.
According to the provisions of the bill, a person who gives false information to acquire the rights to a certificate issued under government security or national savings scheme for himself/herself or for others will be liable to imprisonment for a maximum of six months or a maximum fine of Tk1 lakh. The current law does not specify any fine.
The bill states that no court can take cognisance of an offense related to false information without a complaint from the Bangladesh Bank or the Department of National Savings.
The government has said that the bill will provide an adequate guarantee for the loans taken by the government from the general people.
The bill has also contains provisions for Shariah-based government security management.
In addition to the regular deposit system, the Shariah-compliant deposit system of the "Sukuk" bond has been brought under the purview of the law.
Additionally, the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Remuneration and Privileges) Bill 2021 was passed on Tuesday with the provision that the leader of the opposition will get the same salary, allowances and other privileges as are admissible to a minister.
In addition, the deputy leader of the opposition will enjoy the same salary, allowances and other privileges as are admissible to a state minister.
Earlier, Law Minister Anisul Huq proposed passing the new law repealing the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Remuneration and Privileges) Ordinance, 1979, which was promulgated during the period of a military regime.
The bill was tabled in parliament on 3 September and was sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for scrutiny on the same day.
Special Security Force Bill 2021
To provide security to the family members of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and very important persons (VIPs), the Special Security Force Bill 2021 was passed in parliament on the day.
The new law only includes providing security to the family members of the Father of the Nation and VIPs. Other rules are the same as in the "Special Security Force Ordinance, 1986".
Bangabandhu's family members refer to his two daughters, grandchildren, and in some cases, spouses or issues of the grandchildren. The VIPs will be heads of foreign states or governments.