The Bangladesh Chamber of Industries (BCI) has urged policymakers and people in general to shake off their negative attitudes towards industrialists.
"We have to overcome the conception that industrialists only exploit people. It is industrialists who make investments that generate jobs," BCI President Anwar Ul-Alam Chowdhury Parvez told a press conference on Thursday on the proposed budget for the fiscal 2021-22.
At the press briefing, the BCI hailed the budget, terming it "investment-friendly", and thanked the finance minister as well as the prime minister.
The BCI President believes the proposed tax cuts in the corporate sector will help protect local industries and ramp up the investment volume. On top of the fiscal measures, he emphasised Bangladesh's performance in ease of doing business.
Let undisclosed incomes, black money come in
The BCI put forward a host of recommendations, including allowing undisclosed incomes and black money of up to Tk2 crore into cottage, micro and small ventures even as increasing numbers of experts have argued against any money whitening scope being given to those in possession of black money.
"There is no need to trace income sources of up to Tk2 crore for small ventures. The scope will help create new entrepreneurs, and boost investments and employment," said the BCI president.
Economists and policy experts have been opposing the wholesale money whitening provisions the government rolled out in the budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year. They argued that such a scope would encourage corruption and leave taxpayers frustrated.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal's decision to narrow the scope for a whitening of black money in the new budget drew appreciation, though the minister recently hinted that the government may retain provisions of legalising undisclosed income through taxes being paid at certain rates.
While replying to a query from the press, the BCI president argued, "Suppose someone lends to a small entrepreneur. He might not bring out his white money for that."
"If the money needs tax payment prior to the investment, then the hope for funding becomes slim. Instead, if a money whitening provision is allowed, the investment for small enterprises will ease up. Otherwise the investment volume will keep hovering around Tk10-15 lakh," he noted.
The demands of the BCI include tax holidays for technical and vocational training investments and incomes. The chamber has demanded a tax waiver for technical trainers while they are recruited by institutions or industries.
Besides, the BCI would like all investments in research and skill development to be tax-free. It wants a ten-year tax waiver for micro and small ventures, and providing them with special tax facilities later.
Apart from these, the BCI wants bonded warehouse facilities for export-oriented small and women entrepreneurs, tax rebate for eco-friendly production units, withdrawal of tax at source for raw material imports and value-added tax (Vat) waiver on utilities.
The proposed 5% advance income tax is increasing the cost of business, noted the BCI president. He said the revenue collection target will be challenging and demanded a specific action plan to attain the lofty goal.
Among others present at the briefing were DCI Senior Vice-President Priti Chakraborty, Vice-President Shahidul Islam Niru, Director Engineer Mohabbat Ullah and Md Shahid Alam.