Investment is an essential ingredient for generating revenue for the country and boosting the national economy. But, we have been astonished to find that the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) has imposed fresh taxes and duties on investment in addition to 15 per cent VAT on leased land. We straightaway term it as an ‘unwelcome’ move. The reason is that the investors will simply feel discouraged to invest their hard-earned money in the economic zones. Most often, we are told about investment and investment-friendly environment; but what is happening actually?
Naturally, a question arises here. Are the BEZA authority’s decisions of fresh taxes really encouraging for the investors? Are those at the helms of the Economic Zones really serious about investment? Will it be irrelevant if tax payers ask for an explanation from the authorities concerned regarding reasonability of these new decisions? We are now really doubtful about whether they want the country to move forward as a prosperous one.We are extremely flabbergasted as to what is going on in the economic zones. Our clear view is that arbitrary imposition of new taxes is not consistent with the policy of investment-friendliness. Presently, the investors are going through financial hardship due to the economic fallout caused by the corona pandemic. A group of EZ investors, in the meantime, wrote to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to withdraw the imposed VAT on the lease of land. They have maintained that at the time of investment in the lease rental, no such VAT amount was communicated by the BEZA.
They also expressed frustration over the complexities limiting access to bank loans and uncertainty over the continuation of privileges offered to investors at the time of investment. As the additional charges appear to be an added burden to them, the government should order the BEZA to revoke the decisions at once for the greater interest of the nation.