Experts have urged the authorities concerned to create a taxpayer-friendly environment by increasing the use of technology in the revenue sector as well as making the tax department more transparent and accountable. They also called for measures to be taken to expand the tax net.
They made various proposals in this regard at a pre-budget discussion programme held at a restaurant at the MA Aziz Outer Stadium in Chattogram on Saturday (13 March).
Speakers at the programme said their proposals aimed at formulating a participatory, people-oriented, business and taxpayer-friendly budget and these would make the revenue collection activities of the fiscal year 2021-2022 more meaningful and representative.
The programme was organised by the Bangladesh Business Research and Development Council (BBRDC).
"Besides corruption in the country, a lack of skilled manpower is a big problem. Budget allocations should be made for creating skilled manpower," said Md Kamrul Hasan, chief financial officer of KDS Group, while speaking as the chief guest at the programme.
"The country's export industry is focused on ready-made garments only. The export industry needs to expand its versatility," he continued.
He also said, "Due to a lack of research in businesses, many plans fail miserably. So, allocations should be made to the research sector as well. It is very important to increase allocation for research at different universities."
Shamsuddin Illius, chief of The Business Standard's Chattogram Bureau, and Md Ashraf Uddin, managing director of Zamzam Sweets and Bakes, were present as the special guests of the event.
Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury, staff reporter of The Business Standard and a founding member of BBRDC, moderated the meeting. Priya Dey, chief executive officer of KPI Service BD and a founding member of BBRDC, presided over the event and presented the keynote paper.
At the event, Shamsuddin Illius proposed to waive the trade license renewal fee of small traders, for a short time, during this difficult time caused by the pandemic.
He also said the authorities concerned need to strengthen the taxation of online businesses to maintain the balance between online and offline businesses.
"It is unfortunate that people still file income tax returns manually in this age of information technology. Therefore, it is very important to make all activities online, including return submissions," he added.
Ashraf Uddin, managing director of Zamzam Sweets and Bakes, suggested that the National Board of Revenue use special technology to verify the information of Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN) and its updates plus prepare a master plan for expanding the tax net.
Priya Dey, chief executive officer of KPI Service BD, said the difference between the interest rate on savings certificates administered by Bangladesh Bank and the interest rate on deposits in listed banks is having a negative impact on deposit collection in the listed banks. He proposed that the interest rate on savings certificates and the limit on purchasing savings certificates be reduced.
Ershad Khan, professor of Department of Business Administration, BGC Trust University; Shahadat Hossain, advocate at Supreme Court; Sabuj Das, assistant manager at Imperial Hospital; Vijay Pal, senior auditor at Agrani Bank; Khayrul amin, senior official of Sonali Bank; Raktim Dev, accounts officer at Chattogram Water Supply and Sewerage Authority; Sagar Nandi, accounts officer of Bangladesh Tea Board; and others also spoke at the programme.