Kamal proposes budget’s 7.2 percent for health sector

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DHAKA, June 11, 2020 (BSS) – The health sector drew a record high
allocation with Finance Minister AHN Mustafa Kamal proposing 7.2 percent of
the coming fiscal’s budget and 1.3 percent of GDP for public health in view
of the COVID-19 onslaughts.

“This allocation is proposed for the health sector . . . giving priority to
(medical) activities,” he said placing the budget at Jatiya Sangsad.

The proposed amount for the health sector is over Taka 41,000 crore, while
of the figure Taka 100 crore was earmarked for research, the first such
sanction ever for integrated health science research.

He said, of the amount, Taka 10,000 crore was meant for fighting alone the
coronavirus.

The amount of Taka 41,000 is meant to be spent under different project of
the health and 12 other related ministries and divisions which are on direct
combat against the pandemic.

“At this critical juncture . . . the government’s top most priority is to
save people from being infected by the coronavirus,” Kamal said.

The health and family welfare ministry is to get Taka 29,247 crore alone of
the amount while the related other ministries and divisions would draw the
rest of Taka 41,000.

The statistical analysis shows that the allocation for the health and
family welfare ministry in the coming fiscal is 23 percent higher compared to
that of the outgoing financial year, when the sector eventually received Taka
23,692 crore in the revised budget.

The finance minister also proposed formation of an “Integrated Health-
Science Research and Development Fund” of Taka 100 crore to finance medical
researches and developments.

Kamal said a high-powered committee comprising researchers, nutritionists,
public health experts, sociologists, economists, environmentalists, civil
society figures and other appropriate persons would be entrusted with the
fund for its proper use.

“We have taken all out measures to improve the health sector. We are
implementing different programs worth Taka 5,500 crore under the Health
Services Division to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Kamal said the government would do whatever required to be done to address
the pandemic while by now two projects were chalked up as emergency measures
to fight the deadly virus.

The projects are ‘COVID-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness
Project’ and ‘COVID-19 Response Emergency Assistance’ being supported by the
World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

The projects involved Taka 1,127 crore and Taka 1,366 crore respectively
while the minister said works were launched by now under both the schemes to
“enhance our capacity to fight COVID-19”.

“We sailed through many crises and disasters in our national lives using
our collective strength . . . we as a nation, with the support and
cooperation from all will also emerge victorious in the fight against the
COVID-19 pandemic, InshaAllah,” Kamal said.

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