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Parliament passes Tk 5,23,190 cr national budget

Parliament passes Tk 5,23,190 cr national budget

National Parliament on Sunday (Jun 30) passed the Tk 5,23,190 crore national budget for the fiscal year 2019-20, themed as ‘Bangladesh on a Pathway to Prosperity: Time is Ours, Time for Bangladesh’. Finance Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal moved the Appropriations Bill, 2019 seeking a budgetary allocation of Tk 6,42,478.27 crore which was passed by voice vote, local media reported.

Following the proposal mooted in the House by the Finance Ministry for the parliamentary approval of appropriation of fund for meeting necessary development and non-development expenditures of the government, the ministers concerned placed justifications for the expenditures by their respective ministries, through 59 demands for grant.

Earlier, parliament rejected by voice vote a total of only 484 cut-motions that stood in the name of opposition members on 59 demands for grants for different ministries.

A total of nine MPs from Jatiyo Party and BNP submitted their cut-motions on the budget. They were allowed to participate in the discussion on Secondary and Higher Education Division, Health Ministry, Agriculture Ministry and Disaster Management and Relief Ministry. Later, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury applied guillotine to quicken the process of passing the demands for grants for different ministries without giving the lunch break.

Opposition and independent MPs were present at the House when the Appropriation Bill was passed in parliament and they did not raise any voice against passing of the bill.

Finance Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal on Jun 13 placed a Tk 5,23,190 crore largest-ever budget for the 2019-20 fiscal with a focus on developing communications infrastructure and human resources and achieve the 8.2 percent GDP growth.

Earlier on Saturday, Parliament passed the Finance Bill 2019 with some changes in the proposals over the capital market, VAT and handloom industry, and scrapping the opportunity to invest black money to buy land.

The proposal for legalising undisclosed money through investing in land was proposed in the Finance Bill 2019, placed in parliament on Jun 13.

Parliament also reduced tax on retained earnings and reserves of companies to 10 percent from initially-proposed 15 percent in the face of outcry from businesses, who argued that the step would discourage business expansion and investment. It also passed the proposal to cut tax on stock dividend to 10 percent.

The government initially proposed to impose 15 percent tax on stock dividend to encourage listed companies to pay cash dividend to protect interest of small investors.

Listed companies will have to pay cash dividend equal to the ratio of stock dividend. If the ratio of stock dividend is higher than the cash dividend, the company will have to pay 10 percent tax on stock dividend.

The House also passed the proposal that listed companies would give 30 percent of its net profit as stock and cash dividend. If any company fails to do so, it will have to pay 10 percent tax on retained earnings and reserves.

In the budget proposal, the government sought to slap 15 percent tax on the retained earnings and reserves of a company if the amount exceeds 50 percent of the paid-up capital. It also said stock dividend by listed companies will be subject to 15 percent tax.

Parliament also passed a proposal to impose specific tax at Tk 4 on each kilogram of yarns used by weavers instead of previously proposed 5 percent VAT.