Friday, March 22, 2019

AL govt won’t form banking commission in current term, says Muhith 

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2018-06-08 23:47:55 BdST


Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said the government is not forming the banking commission before its tenure ends in January next year.

He says he has prepared the papers to form the commission, but wants the next government to do it.

The minister spoke about the issue at a news conference on the Tk 4.65 trillion budget for 2018-19 fiscal year on Friday, a day after he proposed it in parliament.

Many economists have called for the institution of the commission as default loans are piling up in banks dogged by scams and irregularities.

Muhith also said in 2016 that the government started working on forming a commission to strengthen oversight of the banking sector.

In February last year, he said he would form the commission by the end of the current government’s tenure.

Asked by journalists on Friday, he said, “I had said that we would form a commission for the banking sector in the near future. No. The banking commission isn’t going to be formed.”

“I have prepared all the papers to form the banking commission. I want to relay it to the next government. The reforms will depend on who will form the next government,” he added.

He, however, skirted questions about criticism of his budget proposal to cut corporate tax on bank, insurance and other financial institutions ‘before resolving the anarchy in the banking sector’.

The National Board of Revenue Chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan defended the move at the media briefing. He said the 40 percent corporate tax on banks had been heavily criticised.

“That’s why the finance minister has cut it by 2.5 percentage points,” he said.

‘All are electoral budgets’ 

The finance minister was flanked by Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Mashiur Rahman and Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan at the presser.

NBR Chairman Bhuiyan, Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir, Finance Secretary Md Muslim Uddin, Economic Relations Secretary Kazi Shafiqul Azam, and Planning Commission Member Shamsul Alam were also on stage.

Muhith hoped the ‘trend of budget deficit getting narrowed’ will continue.

Asked whether he tried to please all in the budget ahead of the general election by the end of this year, the finance minister said, “All of my budgets are electoral budgets. That’s what these should be because I am an important member of a political party.

“Budgets should be for people’s happiness. And they should be tailored in such a manner that they would like these throughout years, not for a day,” he added.

He also hoped it would not be difficult to implement the budget in the year of election.

“Generally the election’s essence fills the air in April if it is held in December. This time it’s getting late for this. It will be good for the country because the lesser time the election essence is in the air, the lesser disturbance it will cause to the work (to implement the budget),” he said.

Muhith strongly believed Bangladesh’s economy would grow at a rate of 7.8 percent – the target set in the budget.

He also said the government may not need to spend all Tk 4 billion allocated for the Rohingya refugees as many international organisations have pledged help for the displaced Myanmar nationals.

Tag:  Finance Minister AMA Muhith  Bangladesh National Budget 2018-19  National Budget 2018-19  Bangladesh Budget 2018-19