Proposed budget favorable to build Smart Bangladesh: Rangpur Chamber
RANGPUR, June 1, 2023 (BSS) - The proposed budget is supportive of building a Smart Bangladesh and domestic industrial development in times of crises like rampant commodity prices, inflation, slowdown in exports and remittances, dollar crisis, rising electricity, gas and fuel prices.
President of Rangpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Mostafa Sohrab Chowdhury Titu made the observation in an immediate reaction on the proposed budget for the 2023-2024 FY presented by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the budget session of the Jatiya Sangsad today.
"Rangpur Chamber feels the strategy that has been highlighted to balance the macroeconomic situation including controlling inflation, holding foreign exchange reserves is very bold and timely," he said.
The proposed budget includes measures to increase regulatory duties to discourage import of non-essential and luxury goods, withdraw advance duty on imported fuels and reduce corporate tax rates for both listed and unlisted companies involved in production of 'Made in Bangladesh' goods.
"Rangpur Chamber thinks that these steps will accelerate the speed of trade and commerce," Titu said.
RCCI feels that the proposed budget will increase the VAT exemption limit for hand-made biscuits, VAT exemption on confectionery services and VAT exemption for malaria and tuberculosis medicines at the production stage, reduction of duty on container import to encourage import and export container business.
Rangpur Chamber feels that the local industry will grow as the proposed budget increases the VAT exemption facility for production of blenders, juicers, pressure cookers, washing machines and microwaves and electric ovens, information technology and computer products.
"The proposed budget will play an important role in building a Smart Bangladesh and ensuring employment oriented domestic industrial development," Titu said.
He drew the attention of the government to prevent corruption in the implementation of the budget, prevent money laundering and ensure that the benefits of growth are distributed equitably.
"The next era of Digital Bangladesh is Smart Bangladesh. But to get there, it is important to focus on addressing the challenges and removing the obstacles," he said, adding that in the proposed budget, the social security allowance has not increased at the same rate as inflation.
Rangpur Chamber feels that the ambitious revenue collection targets set in the proposed budget cannot be achieved without major reforms.
However, RCCI feels that the strategy of increasing revenue by putting pressure on common people will create confusion in the public mind.
"Both size of the proposed budget and the operating costs have increased. If the revenue collection does not increase at the desired rate, the bank dependence of the government will face a lot of challenges to the financial sector," he said.
However, Rangpur Chamber feels that the steps taken to increase the revenue in the proposed budget to continue the trend of private investment are very timely.
Commenting on the proposed government borrowing from the bank sector to meet the proposed budget deficit, he said the flow of credit to the private sector will be hindered.
"If the private sector is hindered, investment, job creation and poverty alleviation programs will be hampered," Titu said.
The proposed budget proposes to impose 15 per cent VAT on ballpoint pens at manufacturing level.
In recent times, the price of all kinds of educational materials, including pens, has already increased. A new tax has been proposed on it. As a result, the pressure on students and parents will increase.
"Besides, Rangpur Chamber is expressing fear that common people will lose direction due to the increase of VAT on daily household items such as plastic and aluminum utensils, toilet tissue, LPG cylinders in the proposed budget," he said.
Therefore, Titu suggested reconsidering these issues in the revised budget.
"The proposed budget has a comprehensive plan to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), increase productivity, create employment and build a poverty-free Bangladesh by 2041." Titu said.
Titu said, despite the growth and increase in per capita income across the country, poverty is increasing in Rangpur division.
"RCCI suggests formulation of separate loan, tax and VAT policies for Rangpur region to increase industrial dependence to create employment, implementation of the Teesta Master Plan, proposed Special Economic Zone in Rangpur and "North Bengal Development Ministry" for the development of the northern region," he said.
Titu has drawn the attention of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to include the proposals of Rangpur Chamber in the revised budget with the aim of reducing poverty and creating massive employment in Rangpur region.
He suggested the government to ensure proper implementation of the proposed budget to bring positive benefits in terms of economic stability, economic growth and poverty alleviation and employment generation on the way to build a Smart Bangladesh.