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Businesses urged for continuation of policy assistance and ease of doing business for attracting more investment

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Desk Report: Improving ease of doing business, policy reforms, continuation of policy assistance, required policy adoptation, tax simplification, reduction of corporate tax, boosting CMSMEs, incentives for export diversification, implementing a sustainable bond market and focusing on logistic industry are some of the major concerns that need to be addressed in the next budget to make it more business and  revenue friendly, Speakers urged these issues at a live pre-budget discussion from the private sector perspective jointly organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI), Samakal and Chanel 24 today on 31st March 2022 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC). Dhaka Chamber President Rizwan Rahman moderated the discussion.

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Planning Minister MA Mannan, MP was present as the chief guest while Syed Manzur Elahi, Former Adviser to the Caretaker Government, Md. Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, MP, former President of FBCCI and Md. Jashim Uddin, President of FBCCI were present as special guests.

Dhaka Chamber President Rizwan Rahman proposed to reduce corporate tax rate by 2.5% for both listed and non-listed companies in the next budget. He also urged to reduce tax on income of corporate dividend from existing 20 percent to 10 percent. An integrated tax administration system is crucial for a simplified tax management system, he said. In order to strengthen CMSMEs, he proposed to introduce turnover-based loan instead of collateral-based loan for the CMSME sector. He later urged that increasing investment, employment generation, private sector participation in the industry development, widening tax and vat net, export diversification, infrastructure development and continuation of business-friendly environment should get priority and more focus in the upcoming budget.

Planning Minister M A Mannan, MP said that the aggressiveness of the businessmen is appreciable and positive sign for the economy. All the government agencies have to play their respective roles in a friendly manner while providing services. He also said that government should give more priority in the infrastructure sector. Government is committed to work hand in hand with the private sector in order to be competitive in the world.

Syed Manzur Elahi, Chairman of Apex Group and Former Adviser to the Caretaker Government said that we need to improve ease of doing business and reduce cost of doing business for a conducive trade and investment ecosystem in the country. He also said that even in the developed countries like Germany, USA SMEs are the lifeline of their economy therefore we also need to facilitate this promising sector for the overall wellbeing of the economy.

Md. Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, MP, former President FBCCI said that CMSMEs are the backbone of our economy all the CMSMEs should have access to the fund of the stimulus even though having some compliance issues of them. He also echoed with the proposal of reducing corporate tax rate to be at par with the average of other regional countries. But he said that policy consistency is more important for a sustainable economic development. Later, he emphasized for formulation of a business and tariff friendly budget.

Md. Jashim Uddin, President of FBCCI said that exporters should get incentives. Logistic is a huge back log for us, he mentioned. He also called upon the NBR to consult with the private sector prior to changing any rules or SROs because sudden changes sometimes become a hassle for the business community. He also said that we should facilitate sub-contracting to boost backward linkage industry. He also urged upon ease of doing business, local industry development and poverty alleviation.

Asif Ibrahim, Chairman, Chittagong Stock Exchange Ltd., Former Member of NBR Alamgir Hossain, Arif Khan, Vice Chairman of Shanta Asset Management Ltd., Naser Ezaz Bijoy, CEO of Standard Chartered Bangladesh, Dr. Md. Habibur Rahman, Chief Economist of Bangladesh Bank, Taskin Ahmed, Deputy Managing Director, Ifad Group, Mostafa Kamal, Chairman of Meghna Group of Industries, Shahidullah Azim, Vice President of BGMEA, Md. Saiful Islam, President, MCCI, Navidul Haque, Vice President, Bangladesh Independent power Producers Association, Mahbubul Anam, Managing Director, Expo Group, M A Zabbar, Vice President, Bangladesh Economic Zone Investors Association, Syed Ali Jowher Rizvi, Chairman, Alliance Holdings Ltd. also took part in the discussion.

Asif Ibrahim, Chairman, Chittagong Stock Exchange Ltd. requested to allow 20% corporate tax for listed companies in the upcoming budget. He also said that this year the revenue target should not be over 30% of total budget.

Arif Khan, Vice Chairman of Shanta Asset Management Ltd. said that for a long term financing there should be a sustainable bond market. He also said that renowned big companies should be listed in the capital market and it will encourage others to come forward.

Naser Ezaz Bijoy, CEO Standard Chartered Bangladesh also urged for capital market development and sovereign bond market. He also requested to redefine the definition of SMEs.

Md. Shahidullah Azim, Vice President BGMEA said this year we have a target of exporting RMG worth of USD 40 billion and by 2024 it will reach up to USD 80 billion. He also said that any policy should be of at least for 5 years.

Mostafa Kamal, Chairman of Meghna Group of Industries urged for policy assistance, policy continuation, product diversification and ensuring ease of doing business.

Mozammel Hossain, Acting Editor, Samakal gave the concluding remarks and urged to reduce corporate tax for newspaper industry and for relaxing vat and AIT for newspaper import.

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