Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Sunday night assured businessmen of taking steps in the upcoming national budget to reduce corporate tax from the existing 35 percent.
“I’ll take steps to reduce the corporate tax in the coming budget. I’ve been trying to do it for the last 10 years…I hope I’ll be able to do it this time,’’ he told a discussion.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) arranged the programme titled ‘Discussion on Path to an Easier Business Environment’ at a city hotel.
Muhith also said the size of the budget for the coming 2017-2018 fiscal year could be as high as Tk 4,50,000 crore.
The minister voiced frustration as the country is not witnessing any boost in private investment though there is now no political turmoil.“The contribution of the private sector to the GDP is 42 percent which remains static for a few years. It must be increased by 3-4 percent,” he added.
Muhith, however, said Bangladesh has progressed far for its investments in agriculture, industries and service sectors.
He said Bangladesh reached the lower middle-income country status in 2014 and with the right policies and timely action, it can move up to the middle-income country very soon. “The government is determined to ensure the congenial atmosphere for business,” Muhith added.
The discussants from the ICAB stressed the need for overhauling the exchange control regulations and the company law as those have become outdated in many ways and no longer address the needs of modern businesses.
Highlighting the role of skilled human resources, ICAB President Adeeb Hossain Khan said businesses largely rely on quality and skilled human resources to grow, or go up the value chain. “While attracting and retaining talent is a problem nearly everywhere in the world, the problem is particularly acute in Bangladesh too because of tiny talent pool,” he observed.
Referring to the falling trend in remittance inflow, he said Bangladesh enjoyed the safety net of remittances for the last several years, a trend which now seems to be reversing.
Executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Kazi M Aminul Islam and President of Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industry Rupali Chowdhury, among others, spoke at the programme.