The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has welcomed the proposed national budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year (FY) as “pro-people and business-friendly”.
“We thank Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Finance Minister Mustafa Kamal for announcing such a pro-people and business friendly budget,” said FBCCI president Sheikh Fazle Fahim.He was addressing a budget reaction press conference at FBCCI auditorium in the capital on Saturday.
Sheikh Fazle Fahim said, “The proposed budget is time-befitting as it has given special emphasis on social safety net, research and development, innovation and information communication and technology (ICT), infrastructure, socio-economic development, poverty alleviation, human resource development, education and health sectors.”
He also welcomed the budget’s proposed scheme of whitening black money.
“We can see positive things in the budget,” he said.
“You all know that there is no black money term, but there is mentioned undisclosed money in the proposed budget.
“We want informal economy turns into formal economy by the budget. Some businessmen earn money from legal source but it’s not disclosed due to some reasons. Actually it’s a legal income. So, we see positive things in the budget. The businesses can disclose the money for this initiative.The Federation urged the government not to create pressure on banking sector to meet its projected budget deficit in the next fiscal year.
The government has set a higher borrowing target from banks for FY2019-20, in order to finance the projected budget deficit.
Instead of depending so much on banking sector, the budget deficit can be financed by utilising other sources, such as: foreign remittances, infrastructure funds, bonds, and others, Fahim said.
Replying to a query on banking sector, he said, “If the government takes loans from banks, the country’s entire banking sector will be impacted.”
Welcoming the new VAT law, he said it would bring comfort to small businessmen.
“We urge the government and the authorities concerned not to hassle businesses during implementation of new VAT law. We have no distance with the NBR,” he also informed.
“The government has proposed to allocate Tk 100 million for creating new entrepreneurs ‘Start Up’ among the youth. The initiative will help create employment,” the FBCCI president stated.
He welcomed the initiative to expand quality technical and vocational education and training (TVET).
Fahim said the decision of giving rebate on total tax for taxpayers who employ physically challenged persons for at least 10 percent of the workforce will encourage the responsible practices among the business communities.
“The measures taken for power and energy and communication sectors in the proposed budget will accelerate investment, industrialisation and employment generation. Public Private Partnership (PPP) will play a vital role to develop the country’s infrastructure,” he mentioned.
The president of the apex trade body also mentioned that the initiative of including Nanotechnology, Bio-Technology, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Material Science, Internet of Things (IOT), Quantum Computing, Blockchain and other similar technologies in education system is a creative idea.
“The initiative will help the country to take preparations for promoting the fourth industrial revolution from the third industrial revolution,” he said.
Fahim appreciated the government for planning to give two percent incentive on money remitted by expatriate Bangladeshis from the FY20 to mitigate the burden of increased expenses in sending foreign remittances and to encourage bringing in foreign remittance through legal channels.
“There are almost one crore expatriate Bangladeshis. If their money comes in the country through the legal channel, it will play a vital role in the country’s economy,” he mentioned.
He also welcomed the government for taking initiatives for industrialisation, agriculture development, ready-made garment (RMG) and pharmaceutical sector.
FBCCI vice president Siddiqur Rahamn, also former president of BGMEA, said, “Some facilities have been increased in the proposed budget from previous year’s budget. So, we can say it’s a business and people-friendly budget”.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday placed the proposed national budget of Tk 523,190 crore for FY 2019-20 in parliament. The proposed budget is 12.62 percent higher than the main budget of the previous fiscal and 18.22 percent higher than the revised budget.