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Next Budget To See Hiked Farm Subsidies PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 April 2009

Farm subsidies will be hiked as the agriculture is going to get the top priority in the 2009-10 budget, the finance minister said Sunday.

Efforts are on to tailor a budget to ensure that farmers get reasonable prices for their produce and the government has sufficient stocks of paddy, rice and wheat, AMA Muhith told reporters in the capital.

These measures will aim to head off the negative impacts of ongoing global recession on the Bangladesh economy, he said after a pre-budget discussion with the chairmen of 30 parliamentary standing committees.

This was the first stance that the government held pre-budget discussions with the parliamentary standing committees.

The parliamentary watchdogs chiefs suggested the government gave the agriculture sector top priority and sufficient subsidies in the coming budget.

They also advised the government at the meeting held at the National Economic Council at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital to make sure that farmers get the reasonable price for their products.

The overseers of the ministries also suggested a rise in the allocations to the gas and power sectors in the face of the acute power crisis.

"Almost all the chairmen of the standing committees have suggested giving agriculture top priority, as the sector has been contributing significantly to the GDP," Muhith said.

"They've suggested the government buy paddy, rice and wheat at reasonable prices so that the prices of those do not fall."

The government has already started collecting wheat after fixing its price. Purchase of paddy and rice will also start once the prices are set considering the farmers' interest, he added.

The chief of the parliamentary standing committee on industries ministry, Tofail Ahmed, said he asked the government for budgetary measures to keep prices of essentials within the reach of the people.

The chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on law ministry, Suranjit Sengupta, said the budget should set aside enough funds to put in place the necessary infrastructure for the judiciary. Mere separation of the judiciary from the executive was not enough, he observed.

Rashed Khan Menon, head of standing committee that oversees education ministry, proposed the exchange rates could be Tk 1-1.5 higher than the current rate considering the interests of the remittance receivers.

He asked the finance minister to ensure the benefits of the proposed recovery package for the recession-hit exporters reach out to workers as well.

Menon recommended the government use the farmers' granaries as alternative government stocks should it face problems with storage facilities in collecting crops from the farmers.

Anisul Islam Mahmud, chairman of the standing committee on expatriates welfare ministry, echoed Menon in his proposal for a hike in the remittance exchange rate.

Muhith said the issue of legalising undisclosed income was not put on the table.


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