The budget for the fiscal 2022-23 has accorded top priority to safeguarding marginal people from inflation fuelled by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has told The Business Standard.
Investment and employment creation have also been given equal importance to keep up economic growth, he also said.
"There is nothing to feel discomfort in the proposed budget, which has been prepared with much focus on marginalised people," the finance minister noted.
Mustafa Kamal will present the national budget for the fiscal 2022-23 in parliament at 3pm on Thursday. This will be the fourth budget of the third consecutive term of the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Increasing agricultural and industrial production, ensuring food security, improving quality of healthcare, human resource development, poverty alleviation through equitable distribution of resources, education, expansion of social safety net and climate change have also taken centre stage in the proposed budget, he pointed out.
The Russia-Ukraine war has put the global economy, which had been making a turnaround from Covid shocks, at risk. Bangladesh has also taken a hit from it, Mustafa Kamal continued.
Inflation in the United States has hit a 40-year high, while many countries, including the United Kingdom, are facing double-digit inflation.
"Our inflation rate is still lower than in other countries, but we are also going through a challenging time," he said, adding that the budget has focused on minimising people's sufferings as much as possible in these trying times.
"That is why we are taking various initiatives, such as widening the social safety net, for the marginalised population."
"The most important thing in the next budget is how we can rejuvenate our economy amid the current uncertainty in the world economy," he said.
Mustafa Kamal said maintaining macroeconomic stability and alleviating poverty have been the biggest achievements of the present government.
"We have also successfully dealt with the 2007 global downturn and the 1997 Asian economic crisis. We will be able to successfully cope with the current global situation too and maintain economic stability," he added.
In every crisis, there is an opportunity, the finance minister noted, adding, "This is happening again. Our exports to the US have already begun to grow. We have taken necessary steps in the budget to take advantage of such opportunities."
Mustafa Kamal said, "We have always given utmost importance to productivity and job creation when it comes to spending budget allocations. These two issues are of utmost importance in approving any project."
They also consider how many new jobs will be created where giving any facilities to the private sector is concerned, he also said.
"This will continue in the new budget too. We want to move forward by creating a win-win situation for all."
Officials concerned said youth employment and women empowerment are two major priority areas of the government's job creation strategy in the medium term. As such, women's participation in the labour force is expected to rise at a faster rate.
On the supply side, the labour force is expected to grow at 2.2% per year. That is, during FY23-FY25 an additional labour force of 4.76 million will be added to the total labour force. During this period, the government has planned to create 7.19 million jobs, of which 2.06 million will be overseas and the remaining 5.13 million will be created domestically, an official said.