Ruling Awami League lawmaker Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim in parliament on Monday urged finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith to talk less as some of his comments often embarrassed the party.
Selim, also a presidium member of the party, claimed that Awami League was doing politics for the betterment of people.
‘But he [finance minister] proposed excise duty on bank accounts stirred confusion among people,’ he noted.
‘Scrap the proposal for increasing excise duty, otherwise people will have a negative idea of the party,’ he warned.
‘Talk less. You make comments which embarrass the party. I do understand… you have become old and lose sense while talking.’
Finance minister proposed reduced interest rate on the savings letters in line with International Monetary Fund suggestion, he said.
‘Finance minister once said Tk 4,000 crore was nothing when the amount was looted from banks. But now finance minister says Tk 1 lakh is enough to be eligible for excise duty,’ he added.
Other senior ruling Awami League lawmakers also came down heavily on the finance minister at parliament on the day over the proposed hike of excise duty on bank accounts, flat VAT rate and his failure to curb corruption in the banking sector.
They said that proposal
for increasing excise duty and flat VAT rate at 15 per cent created panic among people.
AL MP Mahbubul Alam Hanif, also party joint general secretary, ‘Bank money has been looted and bailout money is being provided to these banks.’
He asked the government to take immediate actions against the bank looters.
‘Finance minister has proposed flat VAT rate and providing bailout money to banks. Whose money are you are providing whom?’ he asked.
AL MP Abul Kalam Azad also demanded withdrawal of increased excise duty on bank accounts and urged the finance minister not to lower interest rate for savings certificate.
‘Savings certificate is source of livelihood for senior citizens of the country, so do not take away that,’ Abul Kalam Azad said.
‘You [finance minister] are carrying burden of loan defaulters, failing to save money laundering and now burdening lower middle class with excise duty,’ he alleged.
Another senior AL lawmaker Rafiqul Islam said that eight to ten thousand crores of taka had been looted from banks and urged the finance minister to recover the looted money instead of increasing VAT.
He also demanded measures to amend Article 70 so that MPs could vote against the budget.
‘Then you could see the finance minister would not be able to be so rigid,’ Rafiqul Islam said.
‘We just follow what the chief whip and other whips ask us to do during passage of the budget. Other than this, we have no role in the budget. The finance minister will have to evaluate lawmakers’ suggestion on budget. Otherwise the budget process will never become transparent to people,’ he demanded.
He sought that Muhith scrap the proposed excise duty on bank accounts and do not cut interest rate on saving certificates.
Article 70 of constitutions bars lawmaker from voting in parliament against that party; if they do, they will lose their seat.
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