Next Budget Will Be Encouraging For Private Sector: Finance Min

Desk Report

Published: 10 Mar 2024, 04:47 pm

Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali || Photo: Collected

´╗┐Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali || Photo: Collected

´╗┐Finance Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali today said that the upcoming national budget would be encouraging for the private sector and hoped that the economic growth momentum would continue towards achieving the growth targets.  

Ali said this while addressing the "DCCI Pre-budget discussion: private sector perspective" as the chief guest organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) in association with Samakal and Channel 24 at a city hotel.

The minister informed that the government would consider all the rational recommendations from the private sector.  

Mentioning that the private sector is playing a key role in the development of the country, he said the government is firmly committed to facilitating the private sector so that they can do their businesses in a hassle-free manner.

He said that the government has taken various policy measures including market monitoring for which inflation would come down soon.

Ali also informed that the government would positively consider necessary policy reforms in the next budget. "Moreover, long-term strategy, skills development, support to import substitute industry, export diversification, internal resource mobilization and employment generation will get priority in the next budget,"

The Finance Minister also said that this government is a pro-business government and any rational recommendation from the private sector would be considered.  

National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem said that the government has to strike a balance between expansion of the tax net and the tax burden.  

He informed that in 2020, the total individual taxpayers were only 21 lakh and in February 2024 it was 37 lakh. "NBR also took initiative of integrated automated system in tax collection with a view to expanding the revenue collection. In June 2020, TIN holders were 2 lakhs whereas in March 2024 it stood more than 5 lakhs."

Secretary of Financial Institutions Division Sheikh Mohammad Salim Ullah put emphasis on increasing investment.

"Private sector mainly generates the large portion of employments in the country," he said, adding that work is on to frame policy framework to reduce Non Performing Loans (NPLs) and the government is working on to constitute asset management ventures.  

"In order to establish good governance in the overall financial sector , a roadmap has been prepared," he informed.  

Salim Ullah also said that for economic development of a country, an efficient private sector is crucial.

He urged the private sector to concentrate on cost effectiveness and new innovation.  

Abul Kalam Azad, MP, former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, emphasized on policy consistency so that foreign investors can plan for a long time while investing in Bangladesh.

He also underscored the importance of simplification of the taxation system to increase the revenue collection.  

Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank Dr. Md. Habibur Rahman said inflation, stability of exchange rate, reducing NPL are a few of the priorities at this moment.

He said that it is important to ensure the credit flow to the private sector for better industrialization and employment generation. "Our economy is private sector-led economy and 80% of our credit flow goes to the private sector."

The discussions were divided into four important sessions: Tax and VAT, Financial Sector, Infrastructure sector and Industry & Trade sector.

DCCI President Ashraf Ahmed moderated and chaired the discussion.

He said that still the number of tax payers is not at the expected level.

He emphasized on increasing the tax net across the country to increase the tax-GDP ratio.  

For a sustainable financial sector, a few policy reforms, reducing NPL, increasing reserve, boosting private sector credit flow and stable liquidity situation are crucial, he added.

Former FBCCI President A K Azad, MP, emphasized on more skills development and utilization of technology.

He suggested for more empowerment of central bank to ensure good governance, especially in the financial sector.

Sayeed Ahmed Khan, Head of Taxation, Unilever Bangladesh, Arif Khan, Vice Chairman, Shanta Asset Management Ltd., Aftab-Ul Islam, former President, DCCI, Rizwan Rahman, Managing Director, ETBL Holdings Ltd., Mohammed Hatem, Executive President, BKMEA, Shams Mahmud, Managing Director, Shasha Denims, Dr. Masrur Reaz, CEO, Policy Exchange Bangladesh, Imran Karim, Vice Chairman, Confidence Group and Syed Ali Jowher Rizvi, Managing Director , Summit Alliance Port Ltd. took part in the discussions from the private sector.  

Moreover, former Member, NBR Md. Farid Uddin and CEO, ICAB Shubhasish Bose also spoke on the occasion.

They also opined for reform and modernization of the existing VAT Act, increasing tax-GDP ratio, effective automation of taxation system, simplification of return system, ensuring ease of doing business, bond market development for long term project finance, good governance, export diversification, uninterrupted energy supply and ensuring a vibrant capital market._BSS

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