The Financial Express

Journalists seek cut in corporate tax, newsprint duty

| Updated: April 16, 2021 15:30:13

Journalists seek cut in corporate tax, newsprint duty

Media professionals requested the government to cut corporate tax and duty on newsprint import to help the industry survive.

They made the appeal in a virtually-held pre-budget discussion on Thursday with Finance Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal in the chair.

Eminent journalists Mahfuz Anam, Shykh Seraj, Naem Nizam and Nayeemul Islam Khan attended the event, among others.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the finance minister said apart from discussing their industry-related problems, the senior journalists also talked about farming, poultry industry, and the country's educational institutions, among other issues.

Replying to a query on the country's food situation Mr Kamal noted that farming would definitely get importance in the upcoming budget, and the government would intervene in the sector as required.

"Agriculture is our lifeline. We will use modern technology in all farming arenas, and we will try to provide incentives to educated people who want to be engaged in farming."

The minister said steps would be taken to transform farming from the existing manual format to mechanised one, and the procedure has been started.

"In the current budget we kept some allocation in this regard".

On mounting rice price in the local market, Mr Kamal said production shortage caused supply shortage of the food grain, resulting in the price spiral.

Agricultural production is dependent on weather too, he mentioned.

"We claim that we are self reliant in food production. We can be self reliant in food grain production in that year when weather remains normal. If any natural disaster hits the country, we can't maintain that position."

The minister opined that if lands and capability can be used properly, food grain production can be higher.

"(But) last year we saw that Boro paddy was destroyed in many areas, which created the rice shortage now."

He said farming was not successful in India last year, the same happened in Thailand too. They are also facing more or less shortfall now. Mr Kamal said the pandemic created havoc more extremely in many countries last year compared to Bangladesh.

"That's why farming was also disrupted alongside other sectors. As a result, food supply is facing shortage, compared to demand, which has caused the price escalation."

The minister mentioned that the government arranged an incentive package for the farmers who were affected last year.

Presently coarse rise is being sold at prices between Tk 48 and Tk 52 per kg, medium quality rice between Tk 56 and Tk 60, and fine quality rice between Tk 66 and Tk 82.


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