Friday, December 14, 2018

Businesses are too greedy, says Finance Minister Muhith

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2018-03-11 18:58:23 BdST

File Photo

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has criticised the tendency of Bangladesh’s businesses to push for tax incentives for businesses, calling them ‘too greedy’.

The finance minister made the remark following a meeting with the BCS Customs, VAT and Taxation Association at the Secretariat on Sunday.

The FBCCI has been asked for their opinion regarding a revision of the 2012 Value Added Tax, which did not come into effect for several years. But businesses have expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation to several media outlets.

“They don’t want to pay,” Muhith said when asked about the issue. “No-one wants to pay out of their own pocket. It is a bit worse in our country. They are very greedy. Everyone wants to do business tax-free.”

The government passed the VAT law in 2012, imposing a 15 percent tax on all sales of goods. Though it was to come into effect on Jul 1, 2016, fierce opposition from businesses forced the finance minister to announce that it would be pushed back to Jul 1, 2017.

But parts of the government came into conflict over the decision during budget deliberations, worried that an additional cost on the electorate would affect the upcoming election.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina then pushed the VAT implementation back another two years to 2019, forcing Muhith to back down.

Recently the finance minister stated that he believes the decision was incorrect.

Asked about the matter on Sunday, he said “There should be some high rates and some low rates. At the very least there should be two rates.”

He also discussed a 2 percent discount after the electronic cash registers were introduced.

The government is also working on the customs law and plans to revise it before the next budget, Muhith said.