No whitening black money in next budget: Muhith

No whitening black money in next budget: Muhith

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The next budget will have no provision to legalise black money, says Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith.
“There will be no more chance for converting black money into white,” the finance minister said, while addressing the 35th meeting of the National Board of Revenue’s (NBR) advisory committee on Thursday.
With just about a month left before the 2014-15 budget, the NBR and business platform FBCCI arranged for the meeting at Hotel Sonargaon.It is usual for finance ministers to talk tough about black money but they are known to finally concede ground to big business when budgets are finalise and provisions are usually made for legalising undisclosed income.
Muhith, however, appears determined to boost revenue from income tax as he prepares for the first budget of the new Awami League-led government elected in the Jan 5 polls.
“Now taxes account for 13 percent of the GDP. It has taken 27 years to bring this up from 10 to 13 percent. I am determined to raise this by five percent in the next five years, so that when this government ends its tenure, taxes will comprise 18 percent of the GDP,” Muhith said.
NBR Chairman Gholam Hossain said revenue from custom duties was dropping every year due to ‘global realities’.
“So we have to make up that shortfall in revenue by better income tax collection. So I request business to diligently pay their tax dues.”
Muhith however said protectionism will be in place to safeguard the interest of local business. “You should take advantage of that.”
But he made it clear that progressive liberalisation of trade will continue to happen.
ADD muhith
“We can’t expect too much from individual taxpayers. The current tax-free income ceiling is Tk 220,000. But what is the gross income in Bangladesh?”
“Tax-free income for individual taxpayers in America is Tk 250,000 in Bangladeshi currency. And it is not changed every year. We are thinking of doing something similar. It will be fixed this year and will remain unchanged for at least 10 years.”
Muhith said an amount would be set aside in the upcoming budget to “coordinate” ‘refunds’ for those paying advance-tax. Besides, the fixing of import duty on vehicles would also be carefully considered.
FBCCI President Kazi Akramuddin Ahmed proposed a lowering of the tax rates but a broadening of their base.
He also favoured the raising of the tax-free income ceiling to Tk 250,000.
Ahmed also wants a gradual lowering of the corporate tax and a fixed rate of 0.30% for tax at source across the export sector.
AK Azad, a prime exporter of Bangladesh’s RMG products, wanted a tax waiver for imports of fire safety equipment for garment factories.
He also sought loan at 9% for the jute industry besides other facilities.
Measures were already being taken to give special facilities for the import of fire safety gadgets, said the NBR chief. – bdnews24.com

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