An allocation of Taka 1,508 crore has been made in the budget proposed for 2018-19 fiscal for Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry targeting to flourish travel and leisure industry as well as to start construction of mega Bangabandhu international airport.
The allocation in the proposed budget is Taka 853 crore more than the revised budget of 2017-18 fiscal, that was Taka 655 crore. The proposed budget of the fiscal 2017-18 for Civil Aviation and Tourism ministry was Taka 687 crore.
Of the total Taka 1,508 crore, Taka 1,461 crore will be spent under the Annual Development Programme (ADP) and Taka 47 crore under non-development sector.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith made the announcement while placing the budget for the new financial year before the Jatiya Sangsad today.
At his speech, the finance minister proposed to exempt VAT on the port services rendered by the civil aviation authority for operating only international flights in accordance with Chicago Convention and worldwide practices of civil aviation authorities.
Muhith said the government is continuing its efforts to enhance the capacity and service facility of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and the regional airports for safe aviation including transport of passengers and goods.
“Around 90 per cent work of the feasibility study on the construction of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport has been completed,” he said and adding that the process of building Khan Jahan Ali Airport under public-private-partnership is underway.
“Besides, we have planned to procure 4 aircrafts (787-8) and 2 Dash-8 aircrafts by 2019 for Biman Bangladesh airlines,” he added.
Expressing dissatisfaction over performance of the national flag carrier Muhith said “We have been investing enough for Bangladesh Biman, but it is, I think, yet to be able to deliver its service as expected.”
In this context, the finance minister said the move to transform Biman into a commercial undertaking instead of retaining it as a government agency should be considered.
About tourism industry, the finance minister described various government initiatives to promote tourism across the country.
“We have taken necessary steps to establish marine aquarium at Cox’s Bazar, tourist spot of international standard at Cumilla along the Dhaka-Chittagong highways, tourist spots at Khaliajuri and Birishiri of Netrokona, watchtowers at Tekerghat and Kuakata together with modern rest houses in different district headquarters,” he said
He said the government is implementing community-based and backwater tourism to involve the local community with the tourism industry.
“We are proud to share our sense of fulfillment that Bangladesh has been elected as the chairperson of Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (ICTM) for a term of 2018-19 and Dhaka has been announced as the OIC City of Tourism for 2019,” Muhith said.
The finance minister hoped that these achievements would encourage the country’s tourism industry to be engaged in harnessing its potentials.