The Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) has called on the government to give the utmost priority to the health sector in the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2022-23 to guide post-Covid economic recovery.
In a budget proposal sent to the media, the trade body said now is the time for Bangladesh in terms of domestic demand, employment, and economic recovery, as the impact of Covid-19 is diminishing.
The chamber also called for the budget to be reflective of the current global economic crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.
"The conflict between Russia and Ukraine after the Covid-19 pandemic is forcing the world and our local economies to cope with high inflationary pressures, alongside logistical and supply chain disruptions," BMCCI President Syed Almas Kabir said in the proposal.
The BMCCI called on the government to simplify and streamline the national budget.
The proposal said this year's budget should focus on increasing the scope of income tax and value-added tax, ensuring transparency in income tax collection, complete automation of the tax system, export diversification, encouraging local industrialisation, and ensuring an investment-friendly environment to achieve economic growth targets.
Referring to the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka, the chamber said Bangladesh's economy is different from Sri Lanka's. The two countries' trade and development growth are different as well.
"But the gap between our imports and exports is widening and remittance collection is declining. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we spent about Tk40,000 crore on vaccines. Therefore, specific plans have to be taken to overcome these limitations," the chamber proposed.
Almas Kabir urged increasing the number of taxpayers instead of increasing the tax rate.
"As the tax net increases, there will be no need to set higher tax rates," he said, noting that the number of taxpayers in our country is very low.