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MCCI and PRI's post-budget discussion held

MCCI and PRI's post-budget discussion held

Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI), jointly with Policy Research Institute (PRI), organized a post-budget 2023-2024 discussion titled “Bangladesh from Vulnerability to Resilience and Rapid Inclusive Development” on Saturday (Jun 3), at MCCI Motijheel Office. M. A. Mannan, MP, Minister, Ministry of Planning, graced the event as the chief guest. MCCI Senior Vice-President Kamran T. Rahman made the welcome remarks. Dr. Zaidi Sattar, Chairman, PRI, set the tone by discussing the national budget with respect to the world economy. This followed a panel discussion moderated by Habibullah N. Karim, Vice-President, MCCI.

During this part of the event, Adeeb H. Khan, FCA, Member of the Board of Directors, MCCI, discussed how the industries viewed the budget while Dr. Sadiq Ahmed, Vice-Chairman, PRI, discussed the challenges of the budget. This was followed by an open discussion session. Then the Minister, Ministry of Planning, made his statement. Finally, MCCI Vice-President Habibullah N. Karim offered a vote of thanks. MCCI Secretary-General and CEO Farooq Ahmed moderated the event.

Kamran T. Rahman mentioned that this event would allow all to comprehend the effects of the proposed budget on the different sections of our population. He believed that to implement the budget properly, there were more opportunities for the dynamics of budget management, tax policy reform, automation of tax system, reduction of overall system loss in tax collection, increasing the capacity of tax administration, and providing proper services to the people. There should also be an interim evaluation of the budget after three months, he added.

Adeeb H. Khan, FCA, pointed out that very few major changes had been proposed in Income Tax and VAT. As the new Income Tax Act, 2023 was soon to be presented in the Parliament, he requested the Government to give all stakeholders sufficient time for review and comments. He also termed the increase in surcharge payable by individual assessees to be helping the high-income groups. Finally, he voiced the issue of environmental surcharge being payable for multiple motor cars but not for trucks and buses which pollute the environment more.

In his intervention, Dr. Sadiq Ahmed said that he saw four major challenges of this budget. Those are: (1) restoring macroeconomic stability; (2) the challenge of revenue mobilization; (3) prudent financing of the budget deficit; and (4) protecting social sector spending. He elaborated on each of these topics.

Chief guest Mannan supported the idea of the appointment of tax collecting agents, as it would create employment, but it had to be done in a gradual and systemized manner. About countering inflation, he said that Bangladesh would have to be selective with its imports. He also emphasized that VAT had been exempted on certain food items to make it easy for the people. He agreed about the need for communication and consultation with the business community before the passing of the new Income Tax Act, 2023.

Other topics that came up during the panel discussion were the need for a reduction in Advance Income Tax (AIT), the multi-layered tax on company dividends, revenue mobilization, the low tax-GDP ratio, the lack of confidence between tax payers and tax collectors, the doubling of property transfer tax, and the requirement for all TIN holders to pay Tk 2,000 tax to avail 44 types of government services despite not having taxable incomes.

The discussion was attended by members of the business community, think tanks, and the media.

– Press release