‘Bring reform in taxation policies, encourage investment’

Experts say at IBFB webinar on national budget

Published : 24 Jan 2021 08:41 PM

Speakers at a webinar urged the government to look into some reform in taxation policies encouraging investment as well as increase of revenue.

They suggested to lay importance on framing a development oriented, business and investment friendly budget, alleging that the budgets of last few years are bigger and bigger but without any major changes in the policy issues, according to a press release. 

International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) organized the webinar on “National Budget 2021-22 - Policy Recommendation” held on Saturday through  ZOOM Video Conference.

Former Governor, Bangladesh Bank Dr. Atiur Rahman, Member, CPD Board of Trustees and Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya, and Director General, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) were present among others as designated discussants.

Dr. Muhammad Abdul Mazid, Former Secretary and Ex- Chairman, NBR & Chairman, Finance Committee of IBFB presented a brief of policy recommendations to trigger the discussion in the webinar.

 Humayun Rashid, President, IBFB & Managing Director & CEO, Energypac Power Generation Ltd. was the Chairperson of the seminar.

They observed that most SMEs have encountered poor access to finance in any part of the world. Adequate access to finance is crucial if SMEs are to survive and grow. SMEs are often lack the collateral for loans. 

Panellists stressed adequate financing of SMEs is often constrained by their relatively high credit risk and the conservatism of FIs. FIs are not willing to extend credit without any security coverage. Let them have coverage of their investment and withdraw the cash subsidy from the tax of common citizen. 

As a result, credit guarantee institutions have been established to help enterprises obtain funds from banks by guaranteeing payment of loans, they added 

Such an action will enhance activities of SMEs and generate job in the market. The budget usually allocate few hundred crore of Taka to support ailing public sector banks. There is hardly any improvement of health of those banks. Government may impose a condition for these banks to extend loan to SMEs to qualify for the budgetary support.

Speakers alleged that the honest tax payers are being repeatedly taxed, while the tax-evaders are being incentivized. 

They mentioned that the Bangladesh Bank has developed a platform for database of import, Letter of credit and revenue collection. The NBR and commercial Bank and other stakeholders have access to the platform. 

The tax officials use their discretionary power to impose tax on assesses. Their Tax order start with a sentence “I have some reason to believe that you have more income”. 

But the officer is not bound to show the evidence of his belief. Such a discretion create opportunity of corruption and dissatisfaction of taxpayers. 

NBR should use those data to identify the importers of raw materials and estimate the production capacity of any enterprises.