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Next budget to target 6.5 pc GDP growth PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 April 2008

Finance Adviser Dr Mirza Azizul Islam Wednesday said the national budget for the next fiscal year would be prepared targeting a GDP growth of 6.5 per cent, reports UNB.

"The revenue expenditure and the ADP (Annual Development Programme) will be fixed proportionately with the GDP target," he told Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA) at a pre-budget meeting at NEC conference room.

BEA president Dr Quazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmed led the association to the meeting and expressed concern over the lack of balanced distribution of the economic growth, widening disparity between the rich and poor and deepening poverty.

They also raised questions about the impact and quality of expenditures, and development objectives, stressed the need for developing SMEs sector, creating employment opportunities, widening safety-net programmes and pursuing homegrown development programmes.

The Finance Adviser said he was expecting a GDP growth at a range between 6.1 and 6.2 percent during the current fiscal year, revising up his earlier projection as the major economic indicators picked up recently and on the basis of a brighter prospect for a bumper boro production.

"It''s not bad in the context of regional and global growth projections," he said adding, "It''s not a drastic fall from the last year''s achievement (6.5 percent)." Referring to Bangladesh''s GDP estimates by international institutions, he said their estimates are based on previous indicators, but the indicators picked up recently.

The Adviser said the ADP size would be determined considering revenue collection and likelihood of foreign aid, as he has no intention to raise the tax rates in the coming budget.

"In few cases, the tax rate will be reduced despite the lowest tax-GDP ratio." He hoped to see an increased revenue collection in the next fiscal through administrative reforms and widening the tax base.

Dr Aziz expected that the revenue collection this fiscal year would exceed the target for the first time as the July-February collections grew by 23 percent from the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year.

On rationalisation of input and output taxes, he said it has become difficult to match the tax rates as some quarters demand withdrawal of taxes while some others demand imposing tax to protect domestic production.

"We''ll prepare the budget considering all the aspects." The Finance Adviser said the budget priorities would remain the same as in the last budget that included agriculture and agriculture related sectors, infrastructure, mainly of the power and transportation, human resources development comprised of health and education.

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