Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith on Thursday ruled out blanket legalisation facility for whitening undisclosed money in the next budget for the fiscal year 2013-14 and said that black money holders would have to pay penalty at the prescribed rate of the National Board of Revenue. ‘Black money legalising system that we follow is in line with international standard. So black money holders will have to pay a fine to whiten their money,’ he said at the 34th consultative committee meeting of the NBR at Hotel Sonargoan.
Muhith also said that he felt uncomfortable in preparing the budget for the next fiscal year as it will be a very tough budget because of ongoing anarchy in the country.
He, however, said that upcoming budget would not be very ambitious, but would be a better one as it going to the last budget of the government in this tenure.
He did not specify the figure of the next budget, but said that it would be more than Tk 2 lakh crore.
Muhith also said that Tk 5,000 crore would be allocated from the incremental revenue collection in the coming fiscal year for the construction of Padma Bridge with domestic resources.
‘It will not hamper our development activities under annual development programme as we will collect more revenue in the next fiscal year than the current fiscal year,’ he said.
The NBR and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry jointly organised the meeting to discuss the proposals of the business communities related to income tax, value-added tax and customs duty.
FBCCI, the apex trade body of the country, in its written proposal demanded withdrawal of 10 per cent additional penalty on the highest tax rate at 25 per cent for whitening undisclosed money.
Former FBCCI president Akram Hossain said that NBR should rationalise income tax rate in order to bring huge black money prevailing in the country’s economy into the formal sector.
Responding to the proposal, Muhith said that it was very difficult to brush away black money from the economy as there are 40 per cent to 50 per cent such money in the economy of the country.
However, there are some other estimation about the volume of black money in the economy ranging from 40 per cent to 82 per cent, he said.
He said that the VAT law to be implemented from 2015 would be an instrument to stop tax evasion and remove black money.
Finance minister said that ongoing anarchy pushed the economy into an unbearable disaster.
‘I hoped to place the budget well but the situation pushed me at an uncomfortable and tough situation. I never faced such disaster while preparing the last seven budgets in my life,’ he said.
About the reduction of bank interest rate demanded by the business people, Muhith said that the government did not determine the bank interest rate since 2003. The responsibility was shifted to the business community based on their demand.
‘The government tries to control the interest rate through controlling inflation but it does not work because of unknown reasons,’ he said.
Now, the government can cut the interest rate by giving subsidy which is not possible, he added.
At the meeting, International Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh president Mahbubur Rahman expressed concerned over the possible allocation of Tk 5,000 for the construction of the Padma Bridge in the next budget.
‘The government should spend the money on prioritised development projects and depend on the donors for construction of the bridge,’ he said.
The country immediately needs to explore coal reserved in huge quantity to generate power. It is possible to generate around 10,000 megawatt power in next 50 years by using reserved coal in the country, he said.
-With New Age input