Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith on Saturday hinted that the government is planning for introducing double slab of VAT system from the fiscal year 2019-20 instead of 15 percent flat VAT rate.
He also said the government is considering slashing corporate tax rate as it is encouraging that the country's young generation is now showing interests in paying income tax.
The Finance Minister said this while addressing a 'Pre Budget Discussion' as chief guest organized jointly by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI), The Daily Samakal and Chanel 24 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC). The programme was moderated by Editor of the Daily Samakal Golam Sarwar.
Muhith said to attract foreign direct investment in the country, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) has opened up 'One Stop Service' window where investors will get services through one point by maximum seven months after filing an application.
"It's true that at present the rate of interest on national savings tools is a bit high compare to other non-government savings tools," he said adding that the government would review the rate of this national savings tools after the announcement of budget this year.
The Finance Minister also said that to ensure fare competition among the companies in Bangladesh, effective enactment of 'Competition Law' is necessary.
Chairman of National Board of Revenue (NBR) Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, former Adviser to the Caretaker Government Dr. AB Mirza Azizul Islam were in the main panel while former Chairman of NBR Dr. Muhammad Abdul Mazid, Executive Director of PRI Dr. Ahsan H Mansur, former President of ICAB Adeeb H Khan, former President of FICCI Rupali Chowdhury, Professor of BUET Dr. Mohammad Tamim, Managing Partner of Price Waterhouse coopers Mamun Rashid, Director of DCCI Humayun Rashid, Managing Director of Confidence Cement Ltd. Imran Karim, former DCCI President Matiur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow of CPD Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, Senior Economist of IFC Dr. Masrur Reaz, President of FICCI Shehzad Munim, CEO of IDLC Ltd. Arif Khan, Senior Research Fellow of BIDS Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, CEO of Grameenphone Ltd. Michael Patrick Foley and Research Director of CPD Dr. Khondaker Golam Moazzem were present as panel discussants.
NBR Chairman Md. Mosharraf Hossian Bhuiyan said that the next budget would prioritize the private investors and would have special focus on agriculture, power, energy, infrastructure, and health sector.
He informed that the government would import LNG very soon and it will be blended with the existing gas and added to the national grid. "After blending of gas with LNG, price of gas will be affordable, so there is no need to be panicked," he said.
DCCI President Abul Kasem Khan said they want the upcoming budget to focus on 4Es that is Empowerment, Encouragement, Engagement and Environment.
He also underscored the need for putting emphasis on some priority areas like policy reforms, simplification of taxation system, business friendly policies, enabling business climate, policy continuing, ease of doing business, incentives, reduction of taxes and inclusive policy planning.
Besides, the DCCI president put emphasis on some priority areas like access for finance, energy security, development of SME, increase local investment, development of SEZs, export diversification, infrastructure development and PPP for a business friendly environment.
Former Adviser to the Caretaker Government Dr. AB Mirza Azizul Islam said for the economic uplift, development of infrastructures like power, energy, port, rail, communication are so much crucial areas.
"We've to ensure quality infrastructure as well as timely implementation of the mega projects," he said.
Dr. Ahsan H. Mansur said the taxation system in the country needs to be automated.
Moderator of the programme and Editor of Daily Samakal Golam Sarwar urged the government to withdraw VAT on newsprint for the sake of survival of newspaper industry.
Distinguished Fellow of CPD Professor Dr. Mustafizur Rahman said that SEZs should be established according to the master plan. "Besides, for SEZs, connectivity with ports is very important," he said.
He also said that coordination among BEZA, BEPZA and BIDA will expedite investment in the country.