Budget passed, BNP stages walk out

The budget for 2013-14 fiscal was passed in Parliament on Sunday, amidst a walkout by the opposition BNP.Its lawmakers complained of not being allowed enough time to discuss the budget which was passed around 3:00pm.
The opposition MPS walked out minutes before that.
This was the first time the opposition was present through the whole budget session during the five-year rule of the Awami League-led Grand Alliance.
However, they were absent when the budget was placed and passed.
Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury started the Sunday session asking lawmakers to speak on the budget and come up with any specific proposal for change.
Around 2:30pm the Speaker called for direct votes saying not much time was left.
At this point, BNP’s MK Anwar said the Speaker can put specific proposals to vote if that’s what was needed.
Awami league’s Sheikh Fazlul Karim stood up and attacked the opposition for perpetuating ‘lies’ on the budget proposals.
Chief Whip and Deputy Speaker Abdus Shahid said, “We were not allowed to talk several times when we were in opposition. Under Article 119, the Speaker can place exclusion proposals under guillotine.”
Awami League’s Tofail Ahmed said four or five MPs could have spoken longer if not all of them wanted to talk. “The Speaker will follow guidelines to moderate the House proceedings.”
The BNP MPs walked out in protest as the Speaker put two of the opposition’s cut motions on grant receipts under the guillotine.
Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the new fiscal was set at Tk 658.7 billion. But autonomous organisation’s own funds make up for projects worth Tk 81.14 billion in the ADP. Altogether the 2013-14 fiscal shows total expenditure of Tk 739.84 billion. The total non-development expenditure has been set at Tk 1.5 trillion.
The government is expecting to earn Tk 1.67 trillion in revenue and Tk 1.36 trillion of that will arrive from National Board of Revenue (NBR). The money will be gathered from income tax, import duty and value added tax (VAT).
There will be Tk 550.32 billion deficit between income and spending, which is 4.6 percent of the GDP.
The Finance Minister earlier proposed the facility to whiten black money with purchase of land and 10 percent tax but told Parliament on Saturday that the budget will not provide that facility.
He also suggested some changes to the tax structure in the Finance Bill passed on Saturday.
The Prime Minister requested the Finance Minister to freshly consider proposals on eight matters after which all those were amended.
Muhith had decided to slap 10 percent tax on the import of newsprint moving away from his earlier proposal to slap 25 percent tax. The additional VAT imposed on plastic products, household goods and aluminum utensils have been withdrawn.
Furniture and sweets stores were left out of service sector in the proposed budget. The revised version also withdrew that decision. The proposal to impose tax on the import of two medicine used in treating cancer patients have also been withdrawn. Tax on 1800 CC reconditioned cars has also been reduced.
A total of 18 BNP MPs had proposed 1,023 cut motions on the 56 grant receipts on ministries and departments that were raised in Parliament.
They were all ruled out through voice votes.
Most of these cut motions suggested that the expenditure of ministries and departments be reduced to Tk 1, or reduced by Tk 100 in a symbolic cut and reduction by Tk 1,000 in thrift proposal for cuts.
The Minister for Public Administration Syed Ashraful Islam criticised the opposition members who suggested cuts for the ministry saying, “Can a neutral administration be built with Tk 1?”
The opposition said the proposal of Tk 1 is ‘symbolic’.
Ashraf responded, “People will not rely on us if we reduce ourselves in the name of symbolic. I don’t want to create bitterness by saying more.”
Muhith also criticised the proposed cut motions in respect of the financial sector.
“Most of the statements are redundant. The banks are functioning in a way unlike in the past…you said, the Ministry of Finance is a failure, that is your matter. The world is watching, your statements are replete with fabrications. There is no sign of theft at Padma bridge project.” (Source: bdnews24.com)

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