Small and medium entrepreneurs have put forward proposals for an SME-friendly budget for the next fiscal year.
The proposals were made during a meeting held on “SME Friendly Budget Proposal” for the fiscal year 2018-2019 at the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Foundation office on Monday.
The SME Foundation proposed reducing duties from imported goods including raw materials of agricultural capital equipment processing industry, one time plastic utensils, polycarbonate, primary polymer, and coir fiber, among other goods, to reduce production costs in the industries.
Md Sahabuddin, advisor for SME Foundation and former member of the National Board of Revenue, explained that these proposals were intended for the well-being of small and medium enterprises.
“Small and medium enterprises will be the foundation of our prosperity in the future,” he said in his keynote presentation.
Participants at the meeting said that reducing import duties will allow small and medium enterprises to import raw materials at a cheaper rate, thus lowering the production cost which will in turn enable them to compete with foreign products.
They also proposed increasing tariffs on certain products such as electric switches, lamp holders, plugs and sockets, electric cable clips, and other electrical goods to help local producers survive against foreign competition.
Ismat Jerin Khan, member of the directorate panel of SME Foundation, emphasized the need for development of rural economy and proposed for simplification of trade licenses.
“SMEs are necessary to support large scale industries and if they get loans easily, they can play a very important role for the entire economy,” said Ismat.
The participants also called for simplification of rules and regulations of Value Added Tax (VAT). They proposed increasing the limits of VAT-free turnover so that SMEs fall in the VAT-free zone.
Considering the underprivileged and middle income people, the foundation proposed withdrawing the VAT imposed on producing different kinds of breads, cakes, and biscuits made without automatic machines.
“There’s a huge gap in negotiation between the government and the SME sector,” said, Md Rashedul Karim Munna, member of directorate panel of SME Foundation and CEO of Creation Private Ltd.
“This should be fixed soon to improve this sector.”
The meeting highlighted that although SMEs are working for value addition this sector is not getting enough opportunities because they have to pay the same trade license bills, source taxes and VAT as the giant industries.
The participants urged the NBR to give the same support to the SME sector like the export processing zones.