Top investment and income challenges: FBCCI

Chairman of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Md Jashim Uddin speaks during a post budget press conference held at FBCCI headquarters in Dhaka on Saturday. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presented the draft national budget for the financial year 2022-23 to parliament on June 9. Leaders of a number of other trade bodies were also present. — New Age Photo

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry said on Saturday that investment, meeting the revenue target, good governance and proper monitoring were the challenges in implementing the proposed national budget for the 2022-23 financial year.

Clear instructions from the government to build capacity, transparency and accountability are important to ensure the implementation of the draft budget presented to parliament on June 9, FBCCI Chairman Md Jashim Uddin said during a press conference held at the headquarters of the supreme trade body in the capital Dhaka.

The FBCCI chairman said that the government had taken measures in the draft budget to fight inflation, but that would be difficult as food, fuel oil and raw material prices were rising around the world due to of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war.

He said the government had offered Taka 1,06,334 crore to local banks for deficit financing, which could slow credit growth to the private sector.

Jashim suggested the government should explore low-cost foreign loans for deficit financing.

In the proposed budget, the government has set the revenue target for the National Revenue Board at Tk 3.70,000 crore or 12% and the target may not be met as the NBR fails to meet its target each year, the president of the FBCCI said.

Jashim said tax policy should be simple and business-friendly to achieve the goal.

He also emphasized separating the policy and implementation wings to reduce harassment of taxpayers by tax officials.

The president of FBCCI said that some of the important proposals made by the professional body had not been taken into account when formulating the proposed budget.

He demanded the abolition of the provision for withholding tax and withholding tax on income, saying the provision did not comply with income tax laws.

Considering the cost of living and inflation, FBCCI had proposed to increase the ceiling on non-taxable income to Tk 4 lakh, but this was not reflected in the proposed budget, Jashim said.

Demanding an increase in the non-taxable income cap, the Chairman of FBCCI said that given the overall economic situation, it was illogical to maintain the existing non-taxable income cap of Tk 3 lakh, he said.

He also objected to the imposition of 15% VAT on the import of laptops, saying some of the local companies have started producing the item but their quality is not up to par. .

“The FBCCI does not support amnesty for laundered money and it is not acceptable that laundered money be taxed at a lower rate than honest taxpayers,” Jashim said.

The FBCCI president, however, hoped that many of the measures in the proposed budget would be helpful in increasing investment, industrialization and employment.

He also criticized the NBR for removing the VAT exemption at the manufacturing and marketing stages of the Covid test kit, PPE, protective clothing, plastic face shields, medical protective equipment, goggles protective gear and goggles for medical use and masks amid virus outbreak.

“It is unfortunate that the VAT exemption was removed for test kits and PPE amid the pandemic, but there is no VAT on air conditioners,” Jashim said.

President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Rizwan Rahman, President of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Md Saiful Islam, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Mohammad Hatem, and the president of the Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Syed Almas Kabir, notably attended the press conference.