The government was set to announce the budget for the upcoming fiscal (FY2019-20), with an outlay set at Tk 5,23,191 crore (Tk 5.2 trillion, see our last issue), excluding allocations for autonomous organizations, after Dhaka Courier goes to press this week. Revenue target for the National Board of Revenue (NBR) for FY2019-20 has been set at Tk3,25,600 crore, non-NBR revenue at Tk 14,500 crore, and non-tax revenue income target at Tk37,710 crore.

The target for NBR, which typically earns around 75% of total revenue income of the government, is 16.02% more than the revised target of Tk2,80,630 crore for the outgoing fiscal. The budget deficit has been set at Tk1,45,380 crore.

Defaulted loans soared to Tk 110,874 crore as of March this year, the highest ever in the country, further extending what is already a record that shows no sign of abating. The first quarter figures for this calendar year, released by the Bangladesh Bank this week, revealed that Tk 16,962 crore of classified loans were added to the tally, which was a quarterly record.

Now defaulted loans account for 11.87 percent of total outstanding loans, up from 10.30 percent in December 2018. In March 2018, the percentage was 10.78, according to the central bank. At the turn of the year, defaulted loans totalled Tk 93,911 crore. But as rumours started spreading that the central bank plans to extend a host of facilities to loan defaulters, many stopped paying instalments hoping to avail the benefits.

A total of 142 people were killed and 324 others injured in 95 road accidents across the country during Eid journeys over 11 days till June 9, making it clear that bus journeys in the country are far more dangerous than is anticipated. The accidents took place from May 30 and June 9 on roads, highways, and inter-district and regional roads across the country, including the capital, said a report released by National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways (NCPSRR) on Monday.

The NCPSRR's Eid transport management observation and survey report was prepared based on news items published in online versions of several national and regional dailies, online news portals, news agencies and television channels, it said. The report said the transport management on roads and waterways was comparatively better during this Eid than a few years ago.

Bangladesh's export earnings from Ready-Made Garment (RMG) sector touched $31.73 billion in the first 11 months of the fiscal (July to May), up 12.82 percent from the corresponding period of the last fiscal, when it was $28.12 billion. According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data released this week, knitwear products earned $15.68 billion, which is 12.50 percent higher than the $13.94 billion earned during the same period of FY2017-2018.

Meanwhile, agricultural products posted a sharp rise of 40.3 percent growth to $854.46 million in the first eleven months of FY2018-19 from $609 million in the previous fiscal year. Earnings from two key sectors though, leather and jute, disappointingly fell during the 11 months.

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