Padma Bridge will be ready for traffic from June, 2019: Muhith

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DHAKA, Feb 5, 2018 (BSS)-Finance Minister AMA Muhith today said the mega Padma Bridge will be ready for movement of vehicles from June, 2019.

“Definitely, the Padma Bridge will be ready for movement of vehicles from June, 2019,” said the finance minister while speaking at a programme here.

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) organized the programme to give’ VAT Honor’ to ten organizations which paid the highest Value Added Tax (VAT) in the Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) concluded on Sunday.

NBR chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan presided over the event while Prime Minister’s economic affairs adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman and former communication minister Syed Abul Hossain also spoke on the occasion.

The finance minister criticized the former president of the World Bank for cancellation of loan for Padma Bridge construction and said the loan was cancelled without any approval on allegations of corruption conspiracy.

“At that time, we made several efforts to reach an understanding with the World Bank because the World Bank is our big development partner. But, later we decided not to take its loan and now the Padma Bridge is being constructed with our own finance,” Muhith added.

He said the foreign assistance was 9-10 percent of the national income and now it now varies from 1.3 percent to 1.4 percent and it is enough.

Muhith said it was thought earlier that if the people paid tax, they would have to face harassment throughout their life. But, such idea has now been changed because tax officials now honor and assist the taxpayers, he added.

“But the rate of tax mobilization is still low in Bangladesh . . . only 10 to 12 percent people pay tax. We’ve to take some measures for improving the situation,” he said.

He said the number of income taxpayers has been increased significantly from 14 lakh to 33 lakh which is a good news.

About VAT system, the finance minister said that steps were taken to introduce some reforms in VAT system but the Prime Minister held it up for two years because it was not acceptable to the businesspeople.

“We’re now trying to make the VAT system customer-friendly . . . NBR is working on it,” he added.

At the programme, the finance minister handed over a certificate and a crest to former communication minister Syed Abul Hossain for becoming top income taxpayer in Dhaka City Corporation and getting recognition as ‘Kar Bahadur Paribar’ in 2017.

Syed Abul Hossain thanked the NBR for honoring him and said that he established his transparency and accountability by paying highest tax in the city corporation area.

Dr Moshiur Rahman proposed introduction of ‘Kar Ratna’ or ‘Kar Sebak’ award instead of ‘Kar Bahadur’.

The ten organizations which received ‘VAT Honor’ were RFL Plastic Limited, Walton Hi-Tech Industries Limited, Rangs Electronics Limited, Hatil Complex Limited, Durable Plastic Limited, Akhter Mattress Industries Limited, Rangpur Metal Industries Limited and Agricultural Marketing Company Limited.