Extra allowances planned for govt officials
Sunday, 25 May 2008


Additional allowances have been planned for government officials in the next budget, finance adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam said Friday.

The plan for so-called dearness allowances, meant to match the ever-increasing prices of commodities, will increase the size of the budget.

The finance adviser had earlier said the upcoming budget would near Tk 100,000 crore, of which Tk 25,500 crore marked for the annual development programme.

The current budget is of Tk 79,614 crore, which excludes Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation liabilities of Tk 7,523 crore.

Speaking at a discussion meeting at Sonargaon Hotel, Mirza Aziz said that increasing subsidies and lowering interest rates on bank loans alone would not boost output.

"It's not always true that output will increase if subsidies are increased, interest rates on bank loans are lowered and tax is cut," he said.

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and private television channel NTV organised the programme, which was broadcast live.

Subsidies are not always effective.

"Reaching subsidised fertiliser and other materials to farmers is more important," he said.

Recipients of subsidised fertiliser, for instance, sometimes use fertiliser for different purposes other than farming, he said.

The government also planned out an "employment guarantee scheme" which would provide a "person of a poor family" with financial assistance for 100 days in return for work.

Tax holiday is given to a new company, but not for expansion of the existing industries—a government policy which Latifur Rahman, president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said should change. Rahman was one of the panel discussants.  

Nasreen Awal Mintoo, president of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Bangladesh, who was in the audience, pointed to women graduating into entrepreneurship more than before.

She demanded a five-year tax break for women entrepreneurs.

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