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'Budget lacks clear outline to reduce inflation, boost private investment'

Observes IBFB in a post-budget press confce


| Updated: June 14, 2022 16:04:27


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International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) on Monday said the country's proposed budget doesn't have a clear outline on how to reduce mounting inflation, boost private investment and find support on subsidies for increasing prices of gas, fertiliser and other commodities, though the fiscal layout recognised these as challenges for the financial year 2022-23.

Speaking at a post-budget press conference at the Dhaka Reporters Unity in the city, IBFB President Humayun Rashid said the government's mega non-development expenditure shows that there is no plan on reducing the government expenditure.

Mr Rashid, also managing director and CEO of Energypac Power Generation Ltd, presided over the press conference.

Criticising the budget proposal offering money launderers an opportunity to legalise undisclosed offshore assets, Mr Rashid said the amnesty for money launderers cannot be supported.

"If there is a legality of black money whitening through paying 7.0 per cent tax, why will we pay taxes regularly?" he questioned.

He urged the finance minister to withdraw the proposed provision, otherwise honest businesses and regular taxpayers will be discouraged to pay taxes.

He also urged the government to reform the education curriculum to create need-based skilled manpower and employment.

IBFB Vice President Lutfunnisa Saudia Khan urged the government to withdraw supplementary duty on the import of optical fibre cable. "Otherwise, internet prices will further go up in the country," she said.

Ms Khan said the government is going to impose SD on the fibre cable and 15 per cent value-added tax (VAT) on imported laptops to protect several local companies.

"But they take the benefit of assembling the products instead of manufacturing," she said.

She said many importers will face problems if the government's move is implemented, pushing internet and computer prices up.

Former chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) Md Abdul Mazid said the revenue target is achievable in FY23 if the government can increase the skills and capacity of NBR and set up its offices at the upazila level.

Legal economist MS Siddiqui said the corporate tax has been reduced by 2.5 per cent in the proposed budget but source tax has been increased.

"So, an impact may fall on both local and foreign investment whereas AT and AIT can be adjusted," he said.

President of the Bangladesh-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry SM Rahman underscored the need for proper strategy and necessary steps for reducing corruption, and ensuring transparency and accountability to implement the budget.

Among others, Dr. A.F.M. Matiur Rahman, Chairman, Industry Leadership Committee, former secretary to the govt, Syed Mustafizur Rahman, Vice Chairman, Industry Leadership Committee, IBFB & Managing Director, Novo Cargo Services Ltd., Ms. Tauhida Sultana, Director, IBFB & Managing Director, Advance Homes Pvt. Ltd., Mr Md Fakhruddin, Director, IBFB, & Chief Executive, R & A Traders and Engr Utpal Kumar Das, Vice-Chairman, Liaison Committee, IBFB & Managing Director, Protec Electronics Ltd. attended the press conference.

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