July 05, 2019 | Issue 224


Bangladesh passes Tk 5.23 trillion national budget for FY 2019-20

The national Parliament has approved the Tk 5.23 trillion national budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2019-20, starting on Jul 1. On Sunday, a parliamentary session began at 10am presided by Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury where MPs voiced their approval of the budget -- the first in the Awami League’s third term in government. The government allocated a Tk 2.11 trillion for development programme in the new budget, that is more than 22%of the revised outlay for the current fiscal year. According to media reports, a target has been set to achieve 8.2% GDP growth while reining in the rate of inflation to 5.5%.

Bangladesh approves over Tk 2 trillion development budget

The government has approved a Tk 2.03 trillion development budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The figure is 17.18% higher than the current year’s original outlay and 21.39 % bigger than the revised outlay. The transport sector received the biggest chunk: more than Tk 528 billion or about 26 % of the entire annual expenditure. The power sector came in second with an allocation of Tk 260.17 billion or 12.83 % of the ADP, followed by Tk 243.24 billion or 12% for physical planning, water supply and housing, Tk 213.79 billion or 10.55% for education and religion, and Tk 175.41 billion or 8.65% for science and ICT.

Project launched to improve livelihoods of 4m urban poor

For the development of living standard of the city’s poverty-stricken populace of 4 million, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a six-year project titled ‘Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities Project (LIUPCP)’ along with the Bangladesh government’s Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Local Government Division (LGD). The new project’s objective is to achieve long-term sustainable growth by eradicating urban poverty and to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.” With the help of this new project, the urban poor will be empowered and as a result they would be able to make their own decisions in poverty reduction policies and activities.

Safety net expands for 1.6 million more

In a push to widen the social safety net, the government decided to include all registered differently abled people, and more marginalised and vulnerable ones under its protection. Some 1.5 million people would be added to the government’s core social safety net programmes in fiscal year 2019-20 taking the total to 10 million. Now, 9 million people receive allowances under 17 social protection and several other social safety net programmes of the government. The government has also planned to gradually bring all cash transfers under the government to persons (G2P) system so that the recipients do not have to jump through hoops to get the money.

Remittance hits all-time high

Remittance hit an all-time high of $16.40 billion in the just concluded fiscal year, lending some breathing space to the central bank as it continues to sell US dollars to maintain the exchange rate. The inflows were 9.47% higher than in fiscal 2017-18, according to data from the central bank. A competitive commission offered by private banks to attract remitters and a depreciating trend of the local currency taka against the US dollar are the main reasons behind the record receipts. Strengthening the central bank’s monitoring on the foreign exchange market to tackle ‘hundi’, an illegal way to transfer money between nations, also attributed to this success, according to media reports.

MFS transactions hit record high

Transactions through the mobile financial service platform hit a record Tk 42,236.23 crore in May as discounts offered by the major MFS providers to tempt Eid shoppers to pay through their channel appear to have worked. The amount is an increase of 20.8 percent from the previous month, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank. The move to introduce more options to top-up MFS wallets other than through agents contributed to the higher transactions. Customers can now add money to their wallet by making a direct transfer from the bank account through internet banking and through foreign inward remittance.

23, Bangabandhu Avenue, Dhaka-1000. Bangladesh.

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