The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) wants a part of stimulus packages as grants to help revive the economy and mitigate the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim made the proposal at the 41st consultation meeting jointly organized by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and FBCCI on Sunday.Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal was the chief guest at the virtual meeting. NBR Chairman Abu Hena Rahmatul Muneem presided over the meeting.
FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim said, "The second wave of the pandemic is going on. If this situation continues for any longer, small and big industrial will fall into misery. So it is important to provide a portion of the incentive as a grant to deal with the loss.”
In this case, 5.0 percent of the incentive for large industrial owners should be converted into subsidy and up to 50 percent of small and medium enterprises should be converted into grants, he added.
In 2020, the government announced incentive packages of Tk 1.24 trillion. The lion share of this money has been disbursed as loans. Entrepreneurs want a part of this sector-based incentive as grant.
The FBCCI also demanded the withdrawal of advance income tax and advance VAT on imports for the next two years.
Meanwhile, Faruk Hasan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), has demanded that the source tax on ready-made garment exports be reduced from 0.50 per cent to 0.25 per cent over the next five years. He also demanded that the withholding tax on cash assistance for garment exports be reduced from 10 per cent to 3.0 per cent.Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pran-RFL Group, said, at present,
VAT has to be paid at the rate of 15 percent.
He also demanded a cut in corporate tax.
Syed Almas Kabir, president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), has demanded tax exemption in the e-commerce sector till 2030.
He said, "Withdrawal of VAT is very important for the development of this emerging sector."
He also demanded that digital transactions be kept VAT free. BASIS also demanded that the duty fee for cybersecurity devices and software be brought to a minimum. It also sought a fund of Tk 5 billion to increase software exports in the IT sector.
Speaking as the chief guest, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said, “It is reasonable for businessmen to make demands in the national budget. There is no unreasonable demand. They are the driving force of the country's intensive economy. The country also develops if the opportunities of traders are increased.”
“Increasing the opportunities for traders’ means strengthening the economy of the country,” he said.