Next budget to focus on employment generation: finance minister

The Report Desk

Published: March 11, 2024, 12:58 PM

Next budget to focus on employment generation: finance minister

Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali has said the next national budget for the FY25 would put higher emphasis on employment generation while efforts to carry out reforms in different fields are needed to be continued.

"We‍‍`ll have to increase employment generation to a larger extent as efforts are underway to overcome the foreign currency reserve issue," he said.

The minister was talking to reporters after holding a long pre-budget meeting for the FY25 with the country‍‍`s renowned economists at the State Guest House Padma last night.

Ali said the eminent economists present at the meeting had put forwarded a set of good suggestions while all of them had opined that the government was in the right direction to overcome the current economic situation.

"I‍‍`ve never said that there is no problem. But, we‍‍`ve got praises that we‍‍`ve been handling the situation well and so far everything is good," he said.

"Everyone knows what the underlying problems they (economists) have remarked that everything is well so far, but we‍‍`ve to remain cautious about the problems," he added.

When asked about their specific suggestions, the finance minister said that the ongoing reforms initiatives should have to be continued in various fields.

Replying to another question whether the government would publish the list of loan defaulters following the suggestions of the economists, he said, "Let‍‍`s see what we can do,"

Ali also mentioned that the Vice President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in a recent meeting with him had assured that they are ready to provide more financial support to Bangladesh.

"They (AIIB) informed us that fund is ready and take it....," he said.

Emerging from the meeting, eminent economist and former central bank Governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed said the main thing of the budget should be macroeconomic stability.

He suggested for raising allocations in the education and health sectors side by side minimizing the number of such projects that takes much time to get results.

The noted economist also advised to ensure strict monitoring for implementation of the budget, increase dependency on direct tax instead of the indirect tax like VAT, ensure allocations in different sectors on priority basis, and minimize wastage.

"There should be a fine synergy between the monetary policy and the fiscal policy ...It doesn‍‍`t need to print more money, rather it needs to boost the supply chain as inflation is mostly supply-driven. The real sector should also be promoted," he added.

The former central bank governor opined that it is not possible to control the inflation trend with the interest rate as the small businesses are often affected for this.

In this regard, Dr Salehuddin suggested for making the interest rate market based.

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