Businessmen in Chattogram termed the proposed 2021-2022 financial year budget a visionary one in the country's history, and a budget for better livelihoods and prosperity.
Once the budget is implemented, it will play a leading role in tackling the current Covid-19 situation, they said.
In an instant reaction to the proposed budget, Mahbubul Alam, president of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said, "This is a visionary budget in the history of the country. It is also a budget for better livelihoods and prosperity."
"Chattogram port's development means the development of Bangladesh. For that, it is very important to speed up completion of the development mega projects around Chattogram port for the sake of the country's progress."
In his budget reaction, the CCCI president said, the Bangabandhu Tunnel, Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar, the Bay Terminal, and the Matarbari Deep Sea Port projects are underway in Chattogram. When these projects are completed, the picture of development for the whole Bangladesh will change.
Mahbubul Alam also said the number of jetties needs to be increased to 60 to boost the capacity of Chattogram port. There is no alternative to increasing the capacity of the port to fulfill the $60 billion exports target.
In the proposed budget, the tax rate for publicly traded companies has been reduced to 22.50% from 25%, for non-publicly traded companies to 30% from 32.50%, and for one-man companies to 25% from 32.5%. The provision of surcharge payment on non-income assets has been repealed and the minimum surcharge has been abolished, which is commendable, he said.
As the personal tax-free income limit has not been increased in the proposed budget, he urged the government to increase this limit in the final budget.
Expressing his satisfaction, the CCCI president said the construction industry and exports will benefit as the advance tax on raw materials for the cement industry has been reduced to 2% instead of 3% at the import stage, and the source tax has been reduced to 2% from 3%, for the supply of cement and iron products.
For the purpose of 'Made in Bangladesh' branding, tax exemption of 20 and 10 years has been given for mega industrial production and home appliances. Depreciation of general buildings has been reduced from 10% to 5%, depreciation of factory buildings has been reduced from 20% to 10%, which is positive, he also said.
"We think that a 10 year tax exemption on IT hardware production, keeping the turnover tax free up to Tk60 lakh for the SME sector and women's development, and tax exemption for automobile, three wheeler, four wheeler manufacturing and light engineering companies in Bangladesh, will bring a big change in the domestic industry," Mahbubul Alam said.
Saying that the government has allocated Tk10,000 crore to address the Covid-19 situation, Chittagong Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce & Industry vice-president, AM Mahbub Chowdhury, demanded an increase in this allocation to Tk30,000 crore, by adding another Tk20,000 crore.
However, businessmen in the readymade garment sector say the finance minister, in the proposed budget, has not announced any significant benefits for the development of the apparel sector.
BGMEA vice-president Rakibul Alam Chowdhury said the proposed budget does not bring any good news for the country's ready-made garment industry. In the Covid-19 situation, the 10% withholding tax against cash assistance remains unchanged in the new financial year.
"We expected this rate to be brought to 0%. Corporate tax rates also remain unchanged," he said.