DCCI Pre-Budget Discussion

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) in association with Samakal and Channel 24 organized a pre-budget discussion meeting: private sector perspective at a city hotel on 10 March, 2024. As the chief guest of the event, Finance Minister Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali, MP said that the upcoming budget will be encouraging for the private sector and hoped that our economic growth momentum will be continued towards achieving the growth targets. He also informed that government will consider all the rational recommendations from the private sector.

He also said that private sector is playing the key role for the development of the country. Government is firmly committed to facilitate the private sector so that they can do their business hassle free. He said that government has taken various policy measures including market monitoring, so inflation will soon come down. He also informed that government will positively consider necessary policy reforms in the next budget. Moreover, long term strategy, skill development, support to import substitute industry, export diversification, internal resource mobilization and employment generation will get priority in the next budget. Later he said that this government is a pro-business government and any rational recommendation from the private sector will be considered.

DCCI President Ashraf Ahmed moderated and chaired the discussion. He said that still our numbers of tax payers are not in the expected level. He emphasized on increasing tax net across the country to increase the tax-GDP ratio. For a sustainable financial sector few policy reforms, reducing NPL, increasing reserve, boosting private sector credit flow and stable liquidity situation are crucial. He also said that our industry needs uninterrupted power and energy supply with a competitive price. He later underscored the importance of increasing private sector credit flow for the economic development.

Former FBCCI President A K Azad, MP said that more 2-corer youth are unemployed in the country. In this regard, he emphasized on more skill development and utilization of technology. He suggested for more empowerment of central bank to ensure good governance especially in the financial sector. Private sector has to face various challenges when baking interest rates go high. He also stressed on early implementation of government projects.

Former Principal Secretary Abul Kalam Azad, MP emphasized on policy consistency so that foreign investors can plan for a long time while investing in Bangladesh. He also underscored the importance of simplification taxation system to increase the revenue collection.

NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem said that government has already reduced corporate tax, source tax and made simplification of tax return system. Only tax collection is not the only duty of NBR rather assisting private sector is an important duty of NBR, he added. He informed that in 2020, the total individual tax payers were only 21 lakh and in February 2024 it was 37 lakhs. NBR also took initiative of integrated automated system in tax collection with a view to expand the revenue collection. In June 2020 BIN holders were 2 lakhs whereas in March 2024 it stood more than 5 lakhs. He called upon the business community to boost the local demand with adequate production increase. Government is giving more priority to increase tax-GDP ratio.

Secretary of Financial Institution Division Sheikh Mohammad Salim Ullah said that we have to increase our local investment. Private sector mainly generates the large portion of employment in the country, he said. Government is working on Policy framework for establishing asset management companies under private sector. In order to establish good governance in the overall financial sector a roadmap has been prepared, he informed. He also said that for economic development of a country an efficient private sector is crucial. He also urged the private sector to concentrate on cost effectiveness and new innovation.

Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank Dr. Md. Habibur Rahman said inflation control, stability of exchange rate, reducing NPL are few of the priority tasks for Bangladesh Bank at this moment. In order to reduce inflation Bangladesh Bank has to increase the interest rate based on 6-month moving average basis so that private sector do not suffer. He said that it is important to ensure the credit flow to the private sector for better industrialization and employment generation. Our economy is private sector-led economy and 80% of our credit flow goes to the private sector.

The discussions were divided into four important sessions: Tax and VAT, Financial Sector, Infrastructure sector and Industry & Trade sector.

Sayeed Ahmed Khan, Head of Taxation, Unilever Bangladesh, Arif Khan, Vice Chairman, Shanta Asset Management Ltd., Aftab-Ul Islam, FCA, Former President, DCCI, Rizwan Rahman, Managing Director, ETBL Holdings Ltd., Mohammed Hatem, Executive President, BKMEA, Shams Mahmud, Managing Director, Shasha Denims, Dr. Masrur Reaz, CEO, Policy Exchange Bangladesh, Imran Karim, Vice Chairman, Confidence Group and Syed Ali Jowher Rizvi, Managing Director , Summit alliance Port Ltd. took part in the discussions from the private sector. Moreover, Former Member, NBR Md. Farid Uddin and CEO, ICAB Shubhasish Bose also spoke on the occasion. They also opined for reform and modernize of our existing VAT Act. They also said that self-assessment system and awareness creation will foster tax net and revenue.

They also emphasized on increasing tax-GDP ratio, effective automation of taxation system, simplification of return system, ensuring ease of doing business, bond market development for long term project finance, good governance, export diversification, uninterrupted energy supply and vibrant capital market.

Published on: 2024-03-10

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