The Financial Express

Authorities find ways to pay 75pc of foreigners' salaries in home countries

| Updated: August 22, 2021 14:11:49

File photo used for representational purpose. (Collected) File photo used for representational purpose. (Collected)

The authorities concerned met virtually on Wednesday, devising ways for the foreign nationals working in the mega projects here so that they can receive 75 per cent of the pay and perks in their home countries.

Taking part in the meeting, representatives from the respective authorities suggested that the BIDA will have to relax first its condition in this regard before Bangladesh Bank (BB) amending its guidelines.

The representative from Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) told the meeting that they would soon seek approval from the Prime Minister's Office, National Board of Revenue (NBR), and BB in this regard, meeting sources said.

The meeting was told that the BIDA will have to revisit its condition on project office expenditures that are being met from the inward remittances.

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) representative made it clear that there is no barrier to remove the legal limitation through amending the Guidelines of Foreign Exchange Transaction (GFET) so that the foreigners can send home 75 per cent of their pay and perks.

But, the BIDA needed to revisit its condition before amending the GFET, he added.

The meeting was told that the projects are being implemented through suppliers' or buyers' credit and the loan proceeds do not enter Bangladesh.

The project offices in Bangladesh get payment from their principal or head office.

As per the BIDA conditions, the remittance comes to the account of the project office to meet the local expenses. The BIDA gives permission to the project office on the condition of meeting all the expenses of the Bangladesh office from the head office.

If this condition exists, salary and perks of the foreign nationals would come from the head office of the project as usual.

The BIDA, however, agreed in principle to review the condition soon subject to approval by the 'high-ups'.

The BIDA rules would require changes for allowing the foreign nationals to receive 75 per cent of payments in their respective home countries.

A senior official of the BB said that they would consider amending the policy upon proposal by the BIDA whether they want the facility for some specific projects or all projects.

He said the BB can allow the facility by issuing circular if BIDA wants to facilitate foreign employees of one or two projects.

However, offering such a facility for all foreign nationals would require amendments to the GFET.

A BIDA official said they would send letters seeking opinions from the Prime Minister's Office, National Board of Revenue (NBR) and BB in this regard.

The NBR representative has also given no objection as foreign project officials are already exempted from payment of taxes.

They need to submit returns annually to the tax authority only.

The BB officials said the government would not be deprived of its due revenue, which is the main concern, if they allow the facility.

Sources said those projects are implemented with foreign loans and 90 per cent of the fund remains in their country.

The demand for receiving salaries and perks in the home country of foreign employees came from two mega projects -- Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and Dhaka Airport Third Terminal project.

Employers of those projects are basically contractors of those projects which raised the issue for branch office

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