FBCCI finds budget realistic, not ambitious

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) on Saturday termed the proposed budget realistic but not ambitious contradicting the Finance Minister.“The budget, we think, is not ambitious, rather it’s realistic,” FBCCI President Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed told a crowed press conference, titled ‘Review of Budget Proposal for 2013-14 Fiscal Year’, at the Federation Bhaban.
He, however, said it would be a challenge for the government to implement the budget successfully and felt the necessity of political stability and good governance to make that happen.
FBCCI Vice-President M Helal Uddin and its directors were present. Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Thursday proposed a Tk 222,491 crore budget for the coming fiscal.
Akram Uddin Ahmed, also a member of the ruling Awami League’s advisory council, thanked the Prime Minister for allocating funds for the Padma Bridge. “The mega infrastructure will have to be built at any cost to add 1.5 percent GDP to the country’s economy a year as per statistics.”
He stressed the need for efficient fiscal management for giving a big boost the country’s economy and said the government seems to have tried to give a growth, social development, trade and capital market friendly budget.
“There’s no alternative to a balanced budget for socioeconomic development but what is we need is efficient management.”
On black money whitening provision, Akram Uddin said such amnesty is not new in Bangladesh and preferred to call it undisclosed money instead of black money.
“We think the source of undisclosed money should be identified and these sources need to shrink gradually. We also think undisclosed money should be allowed to invest in productive sectors like industries, infrastructure and in economic zones,” the FBCCI President said adding that whitening black money should not be applicable for investment in purchasing flats.
He thanked the government for extending tax holiday facility till 2015 and hoped that it will play role in expediting industrialization in the country.
Akram Uddin said they re-demand the full withdrawal of advance income tax on basic raw materials of the industry and laid emphasis on adequate credit supply to the private sector to expedite growth by limiting government borrowing from the banking sector.
On bank interest rates, Kazi Akram said all the commercial banks, the Bangladesh Bank and the Finance Ministry are working in a coordinated manner to lower interest rates.
He said any cut-down in subsidy for agriculture will have a negative impact leading to a slower growth.
The FBCCI President sought directives in addressing the global concerns regarding the readymade garment industry. “We’re demanding sufficient allocation and required directives to address the problems of the RMG sector.”
He said the government considered FBCCI’s income tax, import duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) related proposals. “But, we think, there are some areas where reconsideration is needed. We’ll place a report after necessary scrutiny.” (Source: UNB)

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