The Financial Express

Pre-budget parley

Country's top business leaders press for more Covid aid

| Updated: April 13, 2021 13:13:58

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The country's top business leaders have sought extension of the tenure and expansion of the coverage of incentive packages to offset Covid-19's impacts on the economy.

Last year, the government announced multiple stimulus packages to counterbalance the impacts of the deadly pathogen on the national economy.

The business leaders placed the demand at a pre-budget discussion with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the chair on Thursday.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Mr Kamal said the government in 2020 announced 23 bailout packages and the businesses largely benefited from them.

"…As coronavirus still remains in the country and businesses are facing its impacts, they have requested to extend the tenure of the packages," he cited.

The business leaders also requested for expansion of the size of the incentive packages in some areas and extension of their coverage, added Mr Kamal.

Tax-related issues were mostly raised at the discussion, he elaborated.

Replying to a query, he said the issue of continuation of undeclared money legalisation was not discussed on the day.

Mr Kamal quoted realtors as saying that no undeclared money had entered the real-estate sector in the current year due to systematic complications.

He said businesses had submitted their proposals separately to his office. In the proposals they might have talked about the undeclared money issue, he added.

On another query, the minister said the issue of extending support would depend on the Prime Minister.

"Every decision on incentive packages was taken based on her (PM's) directives. She has many other thoughts and definitely some will be reflected this year."

Mr Kamal said this year's budget would target economic expansion. "If we can do that, people's frustration will end and money will be there in their hands."

If the domestic industry got boosted, he went on to say, revenue generation would be easier. That would also help employment generation.

Heads of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka, Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Foreign Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Bangladesh

Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry attended the event.

Besides, heads of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leathergoods and Footwear Exporters' Association, Women Entrepreneur Association of Bangladesh and e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh, among others, were present.

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