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MPs blast Muhith `It`s an anti-poll budget`

By Special Correspondent
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Lawmakers of ruling Awami League on Monday sharply criticized Finance Minister AMA Muhith in the national parliament for widening VAT net with ever increasing rate and imposing additional excise duty on general depositors' bank balance in current year's proposed budget.
Taking part in the discussion, senior lawmaker and AL Presidium Member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim advised Muthith not to show arrogance anymore and talk less. Besides, another AL lawmaker and party's Joint General Secretary Mohammad Hanif termed it an "anti-election budget".
Interestingly, the Finance Minister has been facing huge criticism in the parliament even from the treasury bench members, particularly on VAT and excise duty, from the very beginning after he placed the budget of 2017-18 on the first day of current fiscal.
Not only that Finance Minister is also facing discontent from the general people for his some controversial decisions which will undoubtedly increase the living cost of limited income group people.
"When HallMark scandal was surfaced, you (Muhith) said that Tk4000crore was nothing…even not a significant amount. But now Tk one lakh is a big amount for you. You are the Finance Minister and your duty is to place budget in the parliament. Three-fifty parliament members will finalize which policy to be adopted for the welfare of people," Sheikh Selim said.
On the other hand, Mohammad Hanif said: "I can't understand taking whose advice the Finance Minister has prepared an anti-election budget, instead of placing an election-friendly one. Why he imposed excise duty on bank accounts? Whom interest he is serving here?"
Coming down heavily on Muhith, he further said, "I saw in the newspaper that Tk1000 crore has given to Basic Bank to overcome its capital deficit. I like to ask, whom money you are now giving to Basic Bank? Why you are giving money to the bank? The nation wants to know the reason. When they are swallowing money from the bank through corruption whereas, I'm paying money to save them. We are not interested to give them money."
Echoing the same, ruling party lawmaker and State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid Bipu urged the Finance Minister not to impose 15% VAT on housing sector.
Condemning Finance Minister's budget policy, Jatiya Samajtantrick Dal lawmaker Moinuddin Khan Badal said that main weakness of the budget being fail in determining the priority.
"Major problems of the Dhaka and Chittagong cities are water stagnancy. Until the problem is solved the foreign investors will not show interest to invest their money in this country", Khan said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken initiatives to reduce VAT rate and excise duty.

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