Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013

MPs press for more money

Ask for focusing on development projects ahead of JS polls

Chairmen of parliamentary standing committees yesterday urged Finance Minister AMA Muhith to dedicate more allocations to the projects which will bring them “political benefit” in the next national election.
“People will elect us again if more allocations are dedicated to projects of schools, colleges, madrasas and roads,” said Anisul Islam Mahmud, chairman of the standing committee on expatriate welfare ministry, in a pre-budget meeting at the National Economic Council (NEC) auditorium in the capital.
Around 10 standing committee chairmen present at the meeting asked the finance minister to select projects in the current fiscal year so that orders could be placed with contractors as soon as the next fiscal year started.
They underscored the completion of old projects instead of taking of new ones, which was highly appreciated by the finance minister.
Muhith added that power sector had to be given priority.
Tofail Ahmed, chairman of the standing committee on industries ministry, said, “There are many small ponds beside the mosques in rural areas. Setting up stairs in those ponds would make the rural people happy,” he said, adding that he had done so in his constituency.
Rashed Khan Menon, chairman of the standing committee on the education ministry, said the government should come up with a clear stance regarding the Padma multipurpose bridge project.
Muhith said the government had decided that the Padma bridge would be constructed with own financing.
For the collection of foreign currency required for the bridge, $200 million of an Indian grant would be used, he said, adding that money would be raised by releasing sovereign bonds in the market.
The finance minister also said the country’s foreign exchange reserve was much higher now and a part of the reserve would be utilised in the bridge project.