NBR eyes labour-intensive industry in budget
Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Staff Correspondent

The National Board of Revenue chief said Monday the new budget would put an underscore on labour-intensive industries. "Local industries, at the same time, will be given assistance to cut import dependence," said NBR chairman Mohammad Abdul Mazid.

"A country cannot thrive, depending on a few industries. We will have to build labour-intensive industries, which can create employments for a huge number of people," he said, speaking at a pre-budget discussion, organised by Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Hotel Orchard Plaza in Naya Paltan.

"Instead of developing a handful of big industries, it is better to build many small industries in rural areas." "Grameenphone, for example, is now one of the biggest companies in the country, but it has created comparatively few jobs," he said. The situation in the cement industry is the same."

"That's why the next budget will emphasise labour-intensive industries," Mazid said. "I have no objection to the growth of big industries in the country. But it has to be ensured that big companies create jobs for more people." "We have become excessively dependent on foreign goods.

We even import the commodities which are produced here." Mazid said the import of foreign goods cannot be stopped by making law. "We have to change our mindset so that the local industries get protection." Mazid said the tax administration was thinking of opening a help desk at the NBR for women entrepreneurs and taxpayers to cut harassment.

Ruba Rummana, assistant professor of Ahsanullah University of Engineering and Technology, presented a key-note paper on behalf of the BWCCI. The key-note paper recommended an allocation of Tk 100 crore in the new budge for women entrepreneurs and hiking the tax-free income ceiling for women entrepreneurs to Tk 3 lakh.

The NBR chairman assured the proposals would be considered with emphasis after consulting finance adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam. The NBR chairman said the gap between taxpayers and tax collectors would be reduced to decrease the harassment of taxpayers. BWCCI president Selima Ahmed demanded a separate tax system for women entrepreneurs.

She said the rate of VAT should be reduced to 7 percent from 15 percent on businesses including beauty parlour, home textiles and boutique shops run by women.

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