The Jatiya Sangsad today passed the Finance Bill 2020 incorporating some minor changes paving the way for making the proposed budget for the next fiscal year (FY21) an inclusive one and welfare-oriented.
The Finance Bill 2020 incorporated some minor changes that include minimizing the lock-in period for investing black money in the capital market to invite this untaxed money in the market for boosting it further.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the proposed budget for FY21 earlier had proposed for three years lock-in tenure for investing black money in the capital market. But, it has been reduced to one year while passing the Finance Bill.
The Finance Bill also waived 15 percent supplementary duty on BRTA fees and charges imposed on the three wheelers.
The imposed tax on zero coupon bond has been taken back to its previous position, which is zero.
The Finance Bill also made it mandatory of depositing 20 percent of a disputed VAT amount which was imposed by any VAT official while filing any appeal. But, no deposit is required for going to Customs, Excise and VAT Appellate Tribunal. Previously it was 10 percent for filing appeal while another 10 percent for going to Tribunal.
Moving the bill in the House, the finance minister in his winding-up speech expressed his high optimism to implement this budget in this adverse situation of Novel Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19).
"Asian Development Bank projected our GDP growth to be 7.5 percent for the next fiscal which is closer to our projection of 8.2 percent. Insha Allah, we will be able to implement the budget, to implement this budget all people of our country will need to come forward," he said.
He said that the people of the country got the highest priority during this pandemic as the aim of the government is to save the people and also revive the affected economy.
He mentioned that the Prime Minister already had announced 19 stimulus packages which are under implementation level.
The Minister said that in this budget, the government has given highest importance on the health sector and allotted Tk29,247 crore. Besides, to face the Covid-19 pandemic, additional Tk 10,000 crore has been proposed.
He said that at the beginning of formulating the budget, the Prime Minister asked him to give due priority to the roots of the country.
"Our root is our agriculture and our rural economy. For that we have given extra importance on agriculture sector where 40 percent of our employments are generated," he said.
Kamal believed that this agricultural sector would be the unique area of country's advancement.
The Finance Minister said that people from various sectors are now under difficulties and pain due to the stagnant economic situation in the country and this budget is for all.
"I can't exclude anyone from this budget, if I could have left anyone, then the size of the budget would have been small with the budget deficit, but the truth is very much tough, and we have loved the truth knowing everything," he said.
Opposition bench members Pir Fazlur Rahman, Harun Ur Rashid, Shamim Haider Patwari, Fakhrul Imam, Begum Rawshan Ara Mannan, Kazi Firoze Rashid and Mujibul Huq proposed publishing the Finance Bill for eliciting public opinions.
In response, the Finance Minister expressed his firm stance not to spare anyone involved in any anomaly in the banking sector.
"We have to go much more path, we have to walk far, but this path is not smooth, we can do that if we get help from all," he said.
Later, the bill was passed by voice vote.
The bill was introduced in the House on June 11 where Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal set an ambitious 8.2 percent GDP for the next fiscal stepping up on a comprehensive plan includes four main strategies although he himself admitted that all calculations about the global economy have been turned upside down under the impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Firstly, the government will discourage luxury expenditures and prioritise government spending that creates job.
Secondly, the government will create loan facilities through commercial banks at subsidised interest rate for the affected industries and businesses so that they can revive their economic activities and maintain competitiveness home and abroad.
Third strategy is to expand the coverage of the government's social safety net programmes to protect the extreme poor and low paid workers of informal sector from the sudden loss of their source of earning due to pandemic.
And finally, the government will increase money supply to the economy while making a delicate balance between increased money supply and possible inflationary pressure.
The House accepted some minor amendments of the Finance Bill, 2020 from Pir Fazlur Rahman, Kazi Firoze Rashid, Mujibul Huq Chunnu, Abu Hasan Mahmud Ali, Prof Ali Ashraf and Mashiur Rahman Ranga.
Later, the proposals for publishing the bill for eliciting public opinions and other amendments were rejected by voice vote.