The national budget proposed for the upcoming fiscal year is not an ICT-friendly one and has not paid any heed to the industry’s demands, said Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS).
The organisation is very disappointed at the continuation of 15% value added tax on internet use and e-commerce transactions.
BASIS held a post-budget press conference at its auditorium in Dhaka on Wednesday to express their reaction to the budget proposals for information and communication technology (ICT) industry.
It demanded the government bring large Vat paying businesses under automation system, withdraw 4.5% Vat on IT-enabled services and establish an authority to use funds for the development of ICT industry.
“The proposed budget is not friendly at all to the ICT industry,” said AKM Fahim Mashroor, president of BASIS, adding that the budget did not accommodate any of their demands.
In his budget speech, Finance Minister AMA Muhith termed the industry to be crucial for the country’s development. However, the budget did not reflect the fact that he gave it importance, said the BASIS chief.
He urged the finance minister to rethink about some matters including Vat on internet use before the budget is passed in the parliament. According to him, withdrawal of existing Vat on internet use should be considered.
“To build a digital country, the unnecessary Vat on internet use should be lifted,” said Fahim Mashroor.
The industry leader said although the finance minister earlier pledged to take steps to increase e-commerce transactions, he continued with the imposition of tax on the service.
BASIS demanded the government provide the organisation with 10% of the proposed Tk7bn fund for ICT industry’s development to establish an authority for the sector. The demanded figure amounts to Tk700m.
Data shows that the country’s export of software and ICT services have already become one of top 15 export items.
In 2011-12, there was a 56% growth in ICT and software services export. In the current fiscal too, the export is expected to grow at the same rate.
BASIS leaders said the ICT and software industry has already become an increasingly potential source for employment.
The press conference was also attended by BASIS senior vice president Shameem Ahsan, vice president Syed Almas Kabir, general secretary Russel T Ahmed, joint secretary M Rashidul Hasan, treasurer Uttam Kumar Paul and directors ABM Reazuddin Mosharaf and Shah Imraul Kaeesh.