Tycoons taking over trade in smaller items too

‘Free small businesses from corporate chokehold’

NBR chief for amending Companies Act to preserve smaller trades for SMEs

| Updated: February 13, 2023 15:16:15

NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem seen in this undated photo — Collected NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem seen in this undated photo — Collected

An oft-voiced call now comes from the revenue-board chief that large industries should yield space to small ones, save some investment-intensive sectors, to allow potential growth of small-and medium-scale enterprises.

Speaking at a pre-budget discussion Sunday, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman, Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, stressed amending the Companies Act as the law has kept wide open opportunities irrespective of large and small industries.

"Large businesses should come with investment in heavy industries, challenging manufacturing sector, while small sectors such as making puffed rice, spice grinding could be left to SMEs," he said at the meet with Economic Reporters' Forum (ERF).

The revenue chief categorically says SMEs will be able to face development challenges if they get spaces for investing in small sectors.

Economists note that corporate houses are spreading their wings wider taking over business and production once used to be done by small entrepreneurs, thus keeping the latter in a chokehold.

The ERF leaders placed their budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2023-24, as the budget-making exercises -- at a crucial time -- are on steam.

President of ERF Refayet Ullah Mirdha, Secretary-General Abul Kashem, other members of the Executive Committee and general members spoke on the occasion.

Also, the NBR chairman said impact analysis of the tax exemptions need to be done to quantify the volume of the facility and its outcome.

On refund on tax payments, he said though it is a cumbersome process to issue refund of the taxes once deposited with the public exchequer, the NBR is working to expedite the process.

Member of the NBR Sams Uddin Ahmed said tax net is expanding fast this year and the number of tax returns might reach 3.5 million -- an addition of 1.0 million -- due to intensified effort of the tax authority.

The ERF president said the upcoming budget should address the middle-income group of people who are "the most deprived section in post-COVID economic crisis".

Responding to the ERF members' proposals, the NBR chairman said cigarettes should be sold at the prices written on the packet and no gap between the prices would be acceptable.

"If necessary, the NBR would send letters to the Ministry of Commerce to strengthen the enforcement in this regard," he added.

He said budget is prepared for the common people but they hardly understand its objective.

The ERF proposals include lowering the protective tariffs, upward revision of tax-free ceiling for individual taxpayers, casting wide the tax net, taxing the well-off etc.

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