Budget focuses on health, agri, safety net, job creation

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday said he has brought about a structural change in this year’s budget in terms of setting priorities of the government by slightly deviating from traditional budget due to the coronavirus and its impact.While presenting the national budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year in Parliament, he said the health, agriculture, social safety net and job creation have got the main priority with an aim to effectively deal with the corona pandemic and resolutely overcome its fallouts.
“The health sector is given the highest priority, and provisions have been made for this sector in the form of additional allocation, incentives, compensations, etc,” the minister said.
He said agriculture is the government’s second highest priority sector. “To boost food production, we will lay emphasis on farm mechanisation, incentivies for irrigation and seeds and rehabilitation of agriculture, and continue to provide subsidies on fertilizers.”
Kamal said expanding the coverage of social safety net programmes to reduce hardships of the poor working people due to long general holidays and lockdowns is their third highest priority sector.
“Th fourth priority sector will be job creation and rural development. The objectives are– to tackle unemployment in the industry, SMEs and services sector and the rural non-formal sector due to partial closure of overall economic activities, and create employment opportunities for expatriate Bangladeshis who have been forced to return from abroad,” he said.
Besides, the minister said,they have given a priority to implementing various fiscal and stimulus programmes for maintaining the pace of economic development in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Alongside, Kamal said, they have given priority to the overall human resource development, including education and skill enhancement, as well as the construction of houses for the poor which is one of the main action programmes of the Mujib Borsho.
The national tally of coronavirus cases reached 78,052 in Bangladesh with 3,187 more fresh infections in the last 24 hours as of Thursday.
Besides, 37 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the tally in the country to 1,049, reports UNB.