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Interim not caretaker: Muhith

  • Published at 12:22 pm April 10th, 2013

Finance Minister AMA Muhith reiterated the ruling Awami League’s stance regarding the opposition’s demand for a caretaker government. Saying on Tuesday that the next government will be an interim government as opposed to the previous constitutional provision for a non-elected caretaker government.

Muhith made the statement at a pre-budget discussion with the Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) at his ministry.    “We are keen to hold dialogues for overcoming the existing political deadlock and they will take place,” Muhith told journalists, trying to allay fears that the two major parties will stick to their confrontational strategies blamed for destabilising the country.   The interim government idea has appeared as a potential political settlement, in the place of a non-elected caretaker government, the incumbent party would put in place an interim administration. This would be headed by the Prime Minister, but would include members of the opposition. This would crucially minimise the chances that members of the major political parties would face criminal charges.   Responding to a query about the government's attempt to reduce the gap between the two parties, Muhith said that they are hoping to hold dialogue within parliamentary standing committees and by strengthening local government.    “Opposition leaders, who were members of the parliamentary standing committees, attended the meetings over the last three years. However, they are not participating in this fiscal year [2012-13],” he said.   The finance minister also pointed out that the implementation of budgets and government plans depend on political stability saying that, “We hope that it [instability] will be over shortly.”   On the upcoming budget, Muhith said that every budget until now has focused on implementing electoral pledges and the budget, to be announced on 6 June will continue to do so.   He added that the government will not be introducing new taxations to any sector as it is the last fiscal term in their tenure. Muhith however added that the budget will target most of its earnings from income tax, value added tax and alternative dispute settlements.   The finance minister also claimed that the government’s foreign assistance scenario had improved considerably over the last year and that they will be issuing sovereign bonds within a short time aiming for a healthy foreign exchange reserve.   He added that the development of the railway will get preference in the budget, “We will allocate Tk30bn for the sector as it was not allocated any funds in the last fiscal term.”   ERF President Khwaja Main Uddin and General Secretary Abdur Rahim Harmachi also added their voices to the pre-budget discussion. Whilst Finance Secretary Fazle Kabir, Banking Secretary Dr Aslam Alam, Planning Secretary Bhuiyan Shafiqul Islam were also present for the discussion.