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18 June 2024

Business Insider Bangladesh

Proposed budget for FY25 practical, implementable: FBCCI

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 01:42, 9 June 2024  
Proposed budget for FY25 practical, implementable: FBCCI

Photo: Collected

Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) president Mahbubul Alam on Saturday said that the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2024-14 (FY25) is practical and implementable which can fulfill the pledges made by the government for materializing aspirations of the people under the current circumstances.

Mahbubul, the chief of the country’s apex trade body, however, said that meeting the fiscal target for keeping inflation within 6.5 percent and attaining Tk 4.80 lakh crore revenue collection target by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) would be major challenges before the government.

The FBCCI president said this while addressing a press conference on the proposed budget for FY25 held at the FBCCI Icon in the capital’s Motijheel area.

FBCCI senior vice president Md Amin Helaly, DCCI president Ashraf Ahmed, BKMEA executive president Mohammad Hatem and senior leaders of the FBCCI were present on the occasion.

Extending thanks to the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and the Awami League government for placing a Tk 7,97,000 crore budget for FY25 at the Jatiya Sangsad on June 6, Mahbubul said the public and private partnership should have to be beefed up to ensure successful implementation of the budget alongside ensuring good governance and strict monitoring to face the challenges of budget implementation.

The FBCCI chief thanked the government for delivering such a welfare-oriented and business friendly budget prioritizing the national interest and development despite various crises, limitations and adversities under the current global economic situation.

Referring to the government’s target of containing inflation at 6.5 percent in the next fiscal despite the general point to point inflation reaching 9.89 percent in May, he said, “I think attaining target through reducing inflation will be a vast challenge,”

When asked how the budget would be implemented despite the major challenges of containing inflation and huge revenue mobilization, the FBCCI chief said, “Practically, the government will be able to implement the budget since it’s not an ambitious one. We’re not advocating in favour of the government or against the government. Rather, we act as a bridge between the government and the private sector,” he added.

Replying to another question, he said that the coverage of the social safety nets is being widened alongside other government measures which would eventually help reduce the inflation rate.

Noting that the target of borrowing Tk 1,37,500 crore from the banking system in the next fiscal year might deter the private sector credit flow, he said this could also hinder the investment situation and employment generation.

Mahbubul said bank borrowing is a universal trend in all the countries, but excess trend of bank borrowings might lead the private sector to suffer.

In this regard, he opined that the government could go for seeking long-term financing from the capital market since the cost of funds has increased mostly due to the devaluation of the exchange rate.

Mahbubul informed that the central bank governor has recently assured him that the bank interest rate would not go beyond 12 to 13 percent.

He also suggested providing special tax exemptions for those companies and industries which would enlist themselves in the capital market.

Asked for comments about the stance of the FBCCI against Non Performing Loans (NPLs) and the willful loan defaulters, he said that the FBCCI always advocates for the honest businesses not for the dishonest businesses.

Mahbubul said that the businesses and entrepreneurs could often become defaulters while doing their business, but the authorities of the banks could beef up their vigilance so that the loans could not turn into bad loans and thus create loan defaulters.

The FBCCI president also demanded the government make the tax-free income ceiling of individual taxpayers Tk 4.50 lakh instead of the existing Tk 3.50 lakh considering the current trend of inflation as well as making the tax at source against exports at 0.5 percent instead of the existing 1 percent.

He also proposed making the import duty at zero percent instead of the proposed 1 percent for importing capital machineries and construction materials at the economic zones and hi-tech parks. Otherwise, the investors would be disinterested while a wrong message would go to the foreign investors, he added.

Responding to a question, he said such zero percent import duty facility should be in place for at least five to ten years or at least the present tenure of the government.

Asked whether the scope for legalizing undisclosed money in the proposed budget by paying 15 percent tax would motivate the corrupt, Mahbubul said through this provision, many people including small businesses would be able to show their undisclosed money and wealth in their return files.

He, however, said that they would suggest the government so that no money realized from criminal offenses could avail such tax amnesty.

The FBCCI president also suggested the government for not taking mega projects, rather undertaking projects considering the public demand and necessity.