The BNP's budget response is like words parroted by cockatoos, said Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud.
"Check the newspapers in the last few years and you will see they have been making the same comments every year," he told reporters on Friday, at his Minto Road residence in the capital.
Some organisations, such as the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), have described the budget as weak by pointing to its deficit. When asked to comment on that, the minister said, "Last year, the budget deficit was 15.2% of GDP in the US, 14.3% in the UK, 12.62% in Japan, and 9.3% in neighbouring India. In Bangladesh, it was only 6.2%."
He said Bangladesh had made progress even during the pandemic.
"Here is the evidence. The per capita income of Bangladeshis surpassed that of Indians and reached $2,227. Also, Bangladesh has now become a creditor, lending Sri Lanka $250 million."
Hasan said the size of the 2009 budget proposed by the Awami League government was Tk88,000 crore while the new one is Tk6,03,681 crore, a sevenfold increase.
This is an example of the country's unprecedented progress under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the last 12 and a half years, he said.
Rebutting the BNP general secretary's remark that there is nothing for common people in the budget, the minister said transport, health, education, and job creation had been given the highest importance.
He added, "5% of the budget has been allocated for social security, which is 3.1% in India. The average allocation for social security in South Asian countries is 3.48%."