Claiming that currently around 2.5 million people were unemployed, he said that if the problem was not addressed immediately, the country would suffer
Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) Kazi M Aminul Islam on Monday urged the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to incentivize the country's manufacturing sector in the upcoming budget for FY2019-20.
“Currently our exports and GDP [Gross Domestic Product] growth are on the rise but the entire economy is gripped by a sense of frustration due to the lack of employment opportunities,” he said.
Claiming that currently around 2.5 million people were unemployed, he said that if the problem was not addressed immediately, the country would suffer.
"NBR should ensure policy support through the budget for fast employment generation," suggested Aminul.
He came up with the recommendation while addressing a pre-budget talk with NBR senior officials at the NBR office in Dhaka.
NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan chaired the discussion while senior officials from Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza), Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (Bepza), and Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), were also present.
Aminul said in 2009, when this government came to power, the main challenge was the shortage of electricity and power.
“We successfully fixed the problem over time with policy support and other government initiatives,” he said, adding that now, the country’s "main problem is unemployment".
The Bida chairman said it was impossible to generate employment without industrialization. “We have to make our economy production-based, which still depends on trade,” he said, adding that the volume of imports was far higher than exports.
He urged the NBR to design a complete policy so that the trading-based economy could turn into a production-based one. "NBR should promote local manufacturing and service sectors with tax incentives or other similar facilities," he recommended.
Many countries in the world are drawing investors’ attention with such policy incentives, he added.
"However, the country cannot use the unemployed population since they lack skills. We have noticed that at least 1.4 to 1.9 million unemployed have no special skills in any particular sector, which is why they are not getting jobs,” said the Bida executive chairman.
On the other hand, some foreign workers, skilled in particular sectors, in Bangladesh were earning huge money and sending to their countries, he explained, adding that the budget should have directives regarding this as well.
Referring to the 4th industrial revolution (4IR), he suggested that the next budget be more industry-friendly, to keep pace with the global economy.
Executive Chairman of Beza Paban Chowdhury, in his speech, said no initiative could be successful without NBR's policy support.
"However, many companies are shifting abroad and setting up their factories there, because of our high corporate tax and short tax holiday in comparison to other countries,” he claimed.
Paban stated this as the reason behind Bangladesh failing to attract enough investment while other countries were emerging as global trading hubs.
"Corporate tax should be cut and tax holidays increased for new industry owners so that they do not move out," he added.