Reform initiatives in next budget to improve business: Kamal

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DHAKA, April 30, 2019 (BSS) – Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal today said that a good number of reform initiatives, including simplification of the tax law, would be undertaken in the next budget to improve the existing business and investment friendly environment in the country.

“You’ll see a lot of reforms in the next budget which the country is yet to see after the independence. We’ll simplify the tax law so that the taxpayers can enjoy services without any harassment. Double taxation will be avoided while there will be something good on tax at source,” he said.

The Finance Minister said this while addressing the 40th Consultative Committee meeting of the NBR and FBCCI held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) in the city this afternoon.

Moderated by outgoing FBCCI President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, the meeting was addressed, among others, by PM’s Private Industry and Investment Affairs Adviser Salman F Rahman, Chief Coordinator on SDG Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office Md Abul Kalam Azad. Chairman of the NBR Md Mosharraf Hussain Bhuiyan presided over the meeting.

Kamal also informed that there would also be some reforms on VAT and customs.

He said that based on the good GDP growth rate in the current fiscal year, the government is eying for a healthy 8.25 percent growth rate in the next fiscal year (FY20).

Mentioning that the revenue collection target in this year is Taka 2.96 lakh crore, Kamal said this target should have to be attained but not hurting the general taxpayers, rather pursuing a win-win situation.

“The demand of the government has increased. So, we’ll have to mobilize more revenue for the sake of country’s development. There is around 4 crore middle class people in the country, but hardly 10% of them pay tax. If all the capable people start to pay tax, then the overall revenue collection will increase to a great extent,” he added.

The Finance Minister said it is quite unfortunate for the nation that those who are paying taxes over the years are continuing to pay taxes, but there are also people who are yet to pay taxes despite being financially sound.

“I want to free the nation from this stigma. Facilities will be created for the regular taxpayer in special areas while those people who are now not paying taxes, will surely be brought under the tax net.” He said.

Kamal said that the tax system this time would focus on widening the tax net not imposing any new tax or raising the tax rate. “Tax will be realized not putting burden on the taxpayers, rather the tax net would be widened.”

Putting emphasis on reforms in the education sector, he said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also putting due emphasis on the education sector and the country has reached into a standard position in the education sector.

Responding to the various demands from the FBCCI president to incorporate those in the next budget, the Finance Minister said it would have been quite comfortable for him had the demands been a fewer.

But, he assured the country’s apex trade body leaders that no unjust measures would be taken for them. He reiterated that the budget for the next fiscal year would be placed in parliament in a concise form which would be easily understandable to all section of people.

The Finance Minister said that the tax rates would not be raised in the next five years, but the tax net would be widened to realize more revenues. He said that a contact number would remain open for all at his office where anyone can lodge complains.

Mentioning that a Committee would be formed jointly by the Ministry of Finance, NBR and the businessmen to curb corruption and bribery, he also urged all including the businessmen not to resort to any sort of bribery and corruption.

Terming Bangladesh as a country of creating examples, Kamal said that Bangladesh has been able to attain 7 percent growth rate on average over the last 10 years while the per capita income has now rose to $1909.

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