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NEXT BUDGET PREPARATION

Govt eyes 7.5pc GDP growth

Shakhawat Hossain

The government is preparing the next annual budget targeting 7.5 per cent growth in the gross domestic product in the fiscal year 2014-15.
Finance ministry officials involved with the budget preparation said inflation was likely to be set at 7 per cent for the upcoming fiscal year because of stable outlook for commodity products including fuel oils and cereal crops in the global market.
Finance minister AMA Muhith said that the size of the new budget would be around Tk 2,50,000 crore which is Tk 2,22,491 crore in the current fiscal year.
On Friday, Muhith told at a programme in Sylhet that the size of the national budget for the next fiscal year was likely to be Tk 2,50,000 crore. He said the pre-budget discussion for the 2014-15 fiscal year would begin soon.
The government had projected 7.2 per cent growth in the current fiscal year. But it has decided to revise the growth rate at 6.5 per cent. It has also decided to cut the non-development expenditure in this fiscal year by less than half per cent and the
development expenditure by 16.5 per cent.
The big cut in Annual Development Programme has been attributed to the growing revenue shortfall which is likely to hit more than Tk 13,000 crore at the end of this fiscal year.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have already lowered the country’s GDP growth rate below 6 per cent due to a disruption in the economic activities amid a prolonged agitation launched by major opposition political parties over the January 5 general elections.
Last week Muhith said the country’s economy had not been hit too hard amid unprecedented political violence in the last six months.
He said export performance during the first half of the current financial year reached $14.68 billion with a 16.56-per cent growth despite the political unrest.
Former caretaker government adviser Mirza Azizul Islam said falling revenue was not the only negative indicator of the economy.  Falling investment was the other key concern, he said.
Finance ministry officials hinted that there would be an announcement of incentives to attract foreign investment, flow of which has dried up significantly.




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