Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday asked the Finance Division to keep an adequate fund in the upcoming national budget to purchase Covid vaccine for the country, officials said.
The PM also advised the division to keep providing sufficient financial support to the health and agriculture sectors against the backdrop of repeated waves of Covid-19.
She gave the instructions when the division was apprising her of the national budget for the fiscal year 2021–22 at her official Ganabhaban residence in the morning.
Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and planning minister MA Mannan were present during the presentation of the tentative budget by Finance Division secretary Abdur Rauf Talukder.
Among others, General Economics Division member Shamsul Alam, National Board of Revenue chairman Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem and Economic Relations Division secretary Fatima Yasmin attended the programme.
Officials said that the Finance Division assured the PM of keeping an adequate allocation in the new budget for the purchase of vaccine.
Bangladesh is now negotiating with Russia and China to buy vaccines after the Serum Institute of India Private Limited has suspended its vaccine supply to Bangladesh due to a ban on vaccine export by the Indian government in March.
Bangladesh in November 2020 signed a deal to buy three crore doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the Serum India which produces the vaccine.
The country received 70 lakh vaccine doses from the company until March via its local agent Beximco Pharma.
The Finance Division officials informed the PM that some Tk 14,000 crore was required to buy about 20 crore more doses to vaccinate the targeted 13 crore people.
The division official also apprised the PM that the allocations for the health and agriculture sectors would be raised by more than Tk 6 lakh crore in the upcoming national budget.
AHM Mustafa Kamal who will announce the budge in the Jatiya Sangsad on June 3 is likely to project a government borrowing of around Tk 2.12 lakh crore from both local and foreign sources to meet the budget deficit worth 6.1 per cent of the projected gross domestic product.
The projected income for the new fiscal year would be Tk 3.89 lakh crore, including Tk 3.30 lakh crore planned to be mobilised by the National Board of Revenue.
According to planning ministry officials, the size of the annual development programme for the next fiscal year is likely to be Tk 2.25 lakh crore, more than a one-third of which would be borrowed from multilateral and bilateral lenders.
The coordination council on macro-economy and budget on April 26 in a meeting decided to project the next fiscal year’s GDP growth rate at 7.2 per cent and the inflation at 5.3 per cent.
The meeting, presided over by the finance minister, also decided to further lower the projected growth rate of the country’s gross domestic product for the outgoing financial year 2020–21 to 6.1 per cent from the earlier revised target of 7.4 per cent.
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