FBCCI chief seeks last chance for businessmen
Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Legalizing undeclared money

FBCCI president Annisul Huq on Sunday urged the government to give businessmen a "last chance" to legalise their money that has come from undeclared sources, reports bdnews24.com.

Otherwise, the head of the apex business forum said, a big amount will be smuggled out of the country.

The businessmen made the appeal to finance adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam at a meeting at the National Economic Council at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. The government is preparing for the next budget.

"We have sought a last chance although the move does not match the government's anti-graft drive," Huq told reporters at a post-meeting briefing.

He reasoned out that the country may lose a huge amount of money if the businessmen do not get the incentive—a widespread practice during the political regimes.

It was not clear if the adviser got embarrassed, or otherwise, because of the FBCCI proposal, as he did not speak to reporters after the meeting.

Huq said the adviser did not say anything about the FBCCI proposal that there would be no fine as penalty to legalise the money. The money is meant for investment, he said.

"The adviser said the government is contemplating the matter," Huq said.

How much money then remained undeclared now?

The FBCCI chief said: "We can't say that exactly, but many say that almost half of the total gross domestic product is undeclared."

Huq said the FBCCI asked the finance adviser to lift restrictions on taking loan for export sector from outside the country. "We made the demand as interest rates in the local banks are high. The adviser did not respond to it positively."

Leaders of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association had earlier met with the finance adviser and demanded lifting restrictions on taking loans from outside the country.

Huq said the businessmen had long been demanding a cut on interest rates of the local banks.

"In line with our demands, the banks agreed to give loan at 14 percent interest in the industrial sector. But we had proposed 12 percent. We can take loan from outside the country at a 7 percent interest rate in addition to LIBOR."

Huq said the businessmen proposed a 3 percent duty on raw materials and 25 percent on finished goods to develop the industry.

The FBCCI chief had earlier said the businessmen sought one last chance to legalise only "legally-earned" money.

"We didn't want a chance to whiten black money. We wanted a chance to legalise the money earned by legal means," he said at a seminar.

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