(MENAFN - Bangladesh Monitor) Dhaka : With the emphasis on development of aviation infrastructure, an allocation of BDT 3,426 crore has been made in the National Budget proposed for 2019-20 fiscal for Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry. This is the highest-ever allocation for the sector.
According to a study conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), Air transport drives economic and social progress. It connects people, countries and cultures.
It provides access to global markets. It generates trade and tourism. It forges links between developed and developing nations.
In the present-day world, air transportation has assumed great importance as the driver of economic and social progress. In Bangladesh, the importance is yet to be recognised and as such the civil aviation services are still locked in primitive system.
Unfortunately, however, air services in Bangladesh are in bad shape due to decades of neglect.
There is urgent need of upgradation to keep pace with the global development as the air transportation services in Bangladesh are below par, compared to international standard, due mainly to shortage of proper manpower and equipment.
The allocation in the proposed budget is BDT 2,355 crore more than the revised budget of 2018-19 fiscal that was BDT 1,071 crore. The proposed budget of the fiscal 2018-19 for Civil Aviation and Tourism ministry was BDT 1,508 crore.
Of the total BDT 3,426 crore, BDT 3,375 crore will be spent under the Annual Develop-ment Programme (ADP) and BDT 51 crore under non-development sector.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal made the announcement while placing the budget for the new financial year before the Jatiya Sangsad on June 13.
While announcing the budget, the Finance Minister said the government has taken various steps for the infrastructural development at airports and ensuring easy and safe air travel for passengers to facilitate fast and standard international and domestic aviation.
"Construction of the Third Terminal at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is in progress to enhance its passenger handling capacity to 12 million," he said.
The minister said site selection and feasibility study on the construction of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport is in progress.
Besides, he said runways expansion and capacity enhancement of Cox's Bazar and Sylhet Osmani Airports up to international standard are underway while feasibility study to upgrade Syedpur Airport to international level has been completed, he said.
Kamal said tourism sector will also be given priority in order to ensure sustained and balanced growth of the country.
Mentioning that Bangladesh has many tourist attractions which are yet to be fully introduced to the world, the Finance Minister said, "All potential tourist spots in the country will be gradually made suitable for both local and foreign tourists."
He said work on establishing an Exclusive Tourist Zone is underway at Sabrang in Cox's Bazar for foreign tourists.
Describing potential of the blue economy, the Finance Minister said sea eco-tourism and boat tourism will be introduced through private sector.