Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said there is enough money in banks but that’s not for looting.
While delivering the closing speech in parliament yesterday before the passage of the supplementary budget for fiscal 2018-19, the prime minister also said the government knows who looted banks in the past.
Hasina, the leader of House, was speaking on behalf of ailing Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.
Some opposition lawmakers, taking part in the discussion on supplementary budget on Sunday, came down heavily on the government for its failure to check money laundering, soaring loan defaults and black money.
They also alleged that banking sector is suffering because of corruption.
“Many say there is no money in banks. Why there should be no money there? Of course there is money in banks,” Hasina said.
“But that money is not for looting …. We know the people who have looted banks in the past.”
She added, “Many looted a lot of money from banks and some of them are in prison on the allegation of corruption.”
Hasina also censured those who criticised the budget by saying it was “ambitious” and had “impossible revenue collection target” and “the government lacks capacity to implement it”.
“If we do not have capacity, how the total budget outlay of Tk 61,000 crore of 2008 reached over Tk five lakh crore this year?”
She further said her government brought down poverty rate to 21 percent from 41 percent. “If we cannot implement our budget, how this poverty rate came down?”
Hasina said Bangladesh made remarkable progress in terms of managing economic system. The country’s GDP is growing fast like many other countries and “many term Bangladesh a development mystery.”
She urged the critics to refrain from doing unnecessary criticism. “Do not create confusion among countrymen.”
She said they have taken some ambitious targets as it is necessary for the development of the country.
Hasina said the government analyses annual development programmes midway of a financial year to modify and correct its plans. “Besides, we also analyse which development programmes need more money and which need less.”
“We have to do it as it is a reality that all development projects cannot continue at the same pace,” she said.
After the prime minister’s speech, the House passed the supplementary budget of Tk 15166.18 crore for fiscal 2018-19 to meet the increased expenditures under 37 ministries and divisions.
Hasina placed the Appropriation (Supplementary) Bill 2019 which was passed by a voice vote.
In the supplementary budget, The Election Commission Secretariat got the highest additional allocation of Tk 2447.88 crore, followed by the defence ministry’s TK 1600.64 crore, and local government division’s Tk 1542.84 crore.
Besides, the Power Division got additional allocation of Tk 1276.79 crore and the public works ministry Tk 1182.93 crore.
After the passage of Appropriation (Supplementary) Bill, the supplementary budget now stands at Tk 442,541 crore.
The original budget for the outgoing fiscal 2018-19 was Tk 464,573 crore.
In the supplementary budget, the allocation of TK 37,348.05 crore was reduced for 25 ministries and divisions.
Different ministries, divisions and institutions sought the additional amount under 34 demands for grant.
ALLEGED ROOPPUR GRAFT
Opposition lawmakers criticised the alleged irregularities in purchasing furniture and other household products for officials and employees of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
Hasina on behalf of Housing and Public Works Minister SM Rezaul Karim said a former leader of BNP-backed student organisation Chhatra Dal was involved in the corruption.
“We have already taken action against the accused,” she added.