Economists, businesses say at FBCCI-NTV pre-budget discussion
Accelerating private investment and expediting implementation process of the annual development programme will be the key challenges in the upcoming fiscal year, economists and business leaders said at a pre-budget discussion on Friday night.
They also said that the government should give emphasis on employment generation in the budget for the next fiscal year.
Private television channel NTV and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry jointly organised the discussion titled ‘What type of budget we want’ at the Sonargoan Hotel in Dhaka.
Discussants also sought incentives for the private sector to boost investment, which has remained stagnant over the last few years as the doing business became costlier.
Business leaders also demanded introduction of multiple value-added tax rates for different sectors and continuation of package VAT system for small and medium traders instead of implementing a single VAT rate at 15 per cent for all. The government is scheduled to implement 15 per cent VAT rate from July 1.
FBCCI president Abdul Matlub Ahmad moderated the programme which was broadcasted live on NTV.
‘The main challenge for the next budget will be accelerating the private investment through providing adequate incentives as private investment has remained stagnant over the last few years in the country,’ economist Wahiduddin Mahmud said.
Former interim government finance adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam said the government should put emphasis on expediting ADP implementation process in the next year as the gap between the original development expenditure outlay and the actual progress has been widening over the years.
Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Syed Nasim Manzur said that the cost of doing business was becoming costlier and the ease of doing business was getting complex in the country.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Siddiqur Rahman emphasised employment generation along with achieving higher economic growth.
At the programme, finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said that he would sit with the business community to find ways for reducing the cost of doing business and ensuring the ease of doing business. He admitted that doing business in the country became costlier.
‘I will sit with you after the budget announcement for the next fiscal year to solve the issues,’ he assured the businessmen.
Muhith also urged the businessmen to make investment saying that the next two years would be the best time for investment in the country because of lower interest rate.
The lending rate will come down and remain at as low as single digit in the coming years and the businesses should properly utilise the opportunity, he said.
He said that the government would scrap the ongoing VGF and VGD programmes for poor in the rural areas from the next fiscal year and would introduce a programme like rural rationing to reach the target population.
He said that he was going to declare a separate budget for mega projects in the next budget to be placed at parliament on June 2 and added that another three to four mega projects would be included in the development programme within the tenure of the current government along with the ongoing eight such projects.
He also said that export-oriented sectors would get priority in the budget and the incentives the sectors were enjoying would remain in place.
Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed requested the finance minister not to do anything related to VAT, which would hurt the interest of businesses.
‘We will have to go up to the level [15 per cent VAT], but gradually. So take the decision based on the prevailing reality,’ he said.
At the programme, FBCCI director and Old Dhaka-based business leader Abdul Motaleb demanded continuation of package VAT for small and medium business entities saying that 15 per cent VAT would fuel the prices of essential commodities.
Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mahbubul Alam sought multiple VAT rates.
Source; New Age