He recognises failure to ensure fair price of rice for farmers
“The sectors which have been enjoying the tax holiday facility up to this fiscal (FY 13) will enjoy it up to FY 2015. Later, the next government will think about it,” he said.
Muhith was speaking at a function at his secretariat office in the afternoon.
At the function, media personality Shykh Seraj handed over a 58-point recommendation to the Finance Minister on the agriculture sector for consideration for the new budget to be placed in parliament on June 6.
About the demand of continuing subsidy in the agriculture sector, Muhith said subsidy in agriculture not really means subsidy. “It’s rather an investment.”
He also hinted that the sector is likely to get around Tk 9,000 crore allocations in the upcoming budget with some attention to the poultry and fisheries sector.
The Finance Minister said the farmers are now getting subsidy in diesel through their agri-input cards, and the government is now planning to provide subsidy in fertiliser through these cards.
Although the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) has increased its seed production capacity, Muhith noted, it still cannot meet the country’s demand.
About ensuring the due price of rice for the farmers, he said the government has not been able to ensure it fully and it will also be very hard to do so in the future. “What the government does is fixing a price and then playing an important role in market stabilisation,” he added.
While putting forward the recommendations, Shykh Seraj said the government should not reduce subsidy in agriculture and demanded it form a specialised TV channel for the farmers and give special attention to the poultry sector as they are yet to receive any incentive from the Tk 100 crore stimulus package announced in 2010 to revive this sector.
Of the 58-point recommendation, 22 are for the agriculture sector, 13 for the poultry sector, 12 for the fisheries sector and 11 for the livestock and dairy industry.
This is for the ninth time that the Channel i, on behalf of its ‘Hridoye Mati o Manush’ programme, put forwarded its recommendations on agriculture budget before the government. Since 2005, the ‘Hridoye Mati o Manush’ team has taken opinions of some 2 lakh farmers from 35 places to highlight their demands in the agriculture sector.
This time five open meetings took place in Rangpur, Natore, Munshiganj, Shariutpur and Tangail where ministers, including Finance Minister AMA Muhith, were present.