Finance Minister AMA Muhith understands that the government will not be able to pressurise the people for revenue in the budget before the election, so he plans to do this in the upcoming one.
Speaking at a pre-budget discussion with newspaper editors and top executives of TV stations on Thursday, he said a 30 percent rise in revenue target would be proposed in the budget for 2017-18 fiscal year.
The 11th parliamentary election is set to be held in early 2019. The current Awami League government will give its last budget for 2018-19 fiscal year.
Muhith, 83, also says the 2018-19 budget, his 12th, will be his last one.
He has made 10 budgets, including eight consecutive ones as the Awami League’s finance minister.
“The 2018-19 budget will be the budget before the election. I don’t think we will be able to mount pressure in that one. So, all the pressure will have to be exerted this year,” he told the discussion.
“Pressurising means increase in revenue by 30 percent, where the usual percentage is something like 15 to 16. We are making it 30 percent,” he said enlarging on ‘the pressure’.
“Then some promises that have already been made…,” he added.
Muhith has been increasing the size of budget every year.
He is now ready to face criticism for an ambitious budget.
He has hinted that the size of the budget for 2017-18 would be Tk 4.2 trillion.
Earnings from domestic sources will have to be increased for such a mammoth budget.
“In the course of eight years, this will be the best budget,” he said at the discussion.
He said Tk 3.18 trillion of the Tk 3.4 trillion budget for 2016-17 fiscal year has been implemented.
The finance minister claimed the deficit was ‘less’ this fiscal year and no changes were made in the Annual Development Programme. “This has happened for the first time in Bangladesh’s history.”
The National Board of Revenue told the discussion that it is collecting 37 percent of the targeted revenue through VAT, 36 percent through income tax and the remaining through customs duty.