From pundits to commoners and rich to poor, the major talking point since last week was the proposed national budget for 2021-22 financial year. Despite all the analyses and arguments, from where I see, one thing is undeniable that this budget pampers the vision of Made in Bangladesh products.
With the current phase of our economy, it is impossible for anyone to present a budget that would make everyone happy. But, in the long run, the policy of Made in Bangladesh should be the only possible way to reach a comprehensive budget for all.
From different measures in the coming budget, like reduced corporate tax to tax holiday in new potential manufacturing sectors, it seems the government is set to tap the local potential. The Made in Bangladesh vision will come to success in continuation of such policies.
The Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has considered the proposal of the business community to reduce corporate tax in the budget for 2021-22 financial year. With the exception of mobile financial services, the proposed budget reduced or kept the corporate taxes same in most of the sector.
The sole proprietorship businesses will have to pay 25 per cent corporate tax from next fiscal, which is currently 32.5 per cent. For the listed companies the corporate tax was proposed to decline to 22.5 per cent from 25 per cent, and non-listed companies 30 per cent from current 32.5 per cent.
I, wholeheartedly, support such a move, except the mobile financial services issue, as these will strengthen the economic base of the country.
The mobile financial service has played a tremendous role to enhance financial inclusion, and the ease the citizens' life by providing digital service even in the rural areas of the country. And graduating the country to the next level this type of payment module also needs to be digitised along with boosting the industrialisation process. So the mobile financial service also required to get some boost in terms of taxation point of view.
Empowering the local industry seems to be the priority of the proposed budget which will have profound impact on the private sector. By facilitating new enterprises with reduced tax the government will be able to create more jobs, and raise the economic scale of the people.
An argument, however, cannot be ignored that with reduced tax the government might lose its revenue. I beg to differ. I believe with reduced tax it will open up a whole new opportunity for new businesses which will eventually bring more revenue for the government. The target for achieving 7.2 per cent growth will be possible in such policies.
Another appreciating move was not to allow undisclosed money legalisation. It is immoral to provide such facility, and discourage honest taxpayers.
One major aspect of the proposed budget was providing 20 years' tax holiday for local automobile industry, and 10 years for home appliances and agricultural light engineering. Such policies boost local manufacturing manifold. Already we have developed some local brands, and with such policy support our brands will rule the world market someday.
Finally, I would like to request the government to put more focus on information technology and education, especially technical education, so that we can move forward with a holistic approach of development.
The writer is the President of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Bangladesh.