• Saturday, Dec 07, 2019
  • Last Update : 01:13 am

Rural businesses, small consumers under the planned tax net

  • Published at 10:51 pm February 7th, 2019
AHM Mustafa Kamal
File photo of Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal Courtesy

Finance minister for mandatory ECR machines at all shops, tax offices in each upazila

In a frantic move to augment tax-revenue income of the government amid the huge shortfall in the first six months of the current fiscal year, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal yesterday vowed to collect tax from rural and urban small business establishments, affecting all kinds of consumers.

To make it happen, he announced to make Electronic Cash Register (ECR) machines mandatory in each shop connected with electricity, and setting up tax offices in all upazilas.

“There are 492 upazilas in the country and there will be income tax offices in every upazilas. Besides, Electronic Cash Register (ECR) machines will be mandatory in each shop having electricity connections,” AHM Mustafa Kamal told a press conference after holding a meeting with top business leaders in the capital.

“The ECR will be used in each shop regardless of their locations, from where Valued Added Tax (VAT) will be collected and deposited to the government exchequer,” added Kamal.      

“We will do it to achieve the tax revenue collection target.”

He urged businessmen to help the government attain the revenue target by paying taxes properly. In return, the government will extend all out cooperation to the business community in doing their business.   

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Private Industry and Investment advisor Salman F Rahman was present at the meeting.

Business community leaders requested the finance minister for initiatives to reduce the bank interest rate, formulate a balanced budget and to ensure good governance and accountability in the country.

In the past, revenue targets created pressure on the concerned authorities. Instead of imposing the target, the National Board of Revenue from now on will set their target, and tax rates, said Kamal.

To attain the revenue collection, the NBR will get logistics and required manpower, said the minister.

The government does not want to collect revenue by hurting anyone. It concentrates on how to attain the revenue target without creating any problems to business people, he further said.

Attaining the revenue target is of utmost necessity given the situation that the government’s demands for resources has increased and will continue to rise day by day, the finance minister said.

“There is no other mechanism to meet the resource demand other than generating revenue,” said Kamal.

He said the government is working hard to fix the problems in doing business.

“To meet our demands regarding the revenue collection, the government will provide all out support, “said the minister.

“For the current fiscal year, our revenue target is set at Tk2,96,201 crore and I believe we will be able to attain that target and we are not doing bad,” said Kamal.

However, the government is giving importance on widening the tax net instead of increasing the rate of taxes to meet the target.

“Finance Minister assured us of rationalizing the tax and duty rates in the upcoming budget,” FBCCI President Md. Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin told reporters after the meeting, quoting the minister.

He also urged the government to bring the bank interest rate to a single digit to retain the investment momentum and utilize Bangladesh’s economic potentials to its fullest.

According to NBR data, in July-December of the current fiscal year government collected Tk98,027.76 crore, which is Tk27,999.67 crore or 22.22% less than the target of Tk126,027.43 crore.

However, total collection was 6.36% higher compared to collection of Tk92,163.01 crore in the same period last year.

In the meeting Bangladesh Bank governor Fazle Kabir, NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, BIDA Chairman Kazi Aminul Islam and BEPZA chairman Major General Mohd Habibur Rahman Khan and FBCCI President Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin were present.