Business leaders participated in a warm exchange of words with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at a meeting between FBCCI and NBR yesterday on the implementation of a new law On the VAT.
During the exchange, leaders threatened to go to the streets and the minister, annoyed by this, said he would stop their hustle and bustle.
The meeting between the National Revenue Council (NBR) and the Bangladesh Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in the city brought together representatives from various trade and industry organizations Of senior officials.
At one point, Abu Motaleb, general secretary of Byabosayee Oikya Forum, threatened to bustle about the street if the proposals and demands of small and medium-sized enterprises were not taken up. consideration.
"If you do not accept the proposals of the FBCCI, I think that the businessmen will go again on the street, like the students, and this law will fail again. Which you are going to consider … There is still time to implement the law by taking all these measures into consideration, "said Motaleb, also director of FBCCI.
The government plans to implement the new VAT law on VAT and the 2012 supplementary law compared to the next financial year.
The new law provides for a uniform VAT of 15 per cent instead of the existing multiple rates currently applicable to many goods and services.
However, the movement raised concerns many of this application of the flat rate would increase the already high cost of living.
The NBR, however, argues that the new law will not increase property prices in general, as businesses will be able to get discounts.
At the event, Motaleb, one of the organizers of a demonstration by traders last year, said that the company representatives met with senior officials of the NBR 18 times with their proposals on the new VAT law. The proposals included the continuation of the VAT package under the new law.
The FBCCI and the work of the NBR on the VAT, but the result is zero, he said.
He stated that even if they were convinced that their claims were met as a result of demonstrations, "I saw in the newspaper that a uniform tax of 15 percent [VAT] goes Be imposed and that VAT on parcels will not continue. "
Motaleb said: "This is a critical moment, you will implement the budget and if we want to demonstrate as students, you will fail.We, small and medium-sized enterprises, face a tough competition. "
He cited factors such as low-priced imports from neighboring countries.
He also said that traders were not trained in the new law, which will be implemented in an automated environment.
"They trained some people for the show … but if regular traders do not receive training, how will they understand what is the Cash Register [ECR]?
"We must know everything, none of us need to receive training on ECR."
In calling for reconsideration of the FBCCI proposals, he said: "If the FBCCI requests are not accepted, we will start the demonstrations."
Finance Minister AMA Muhith then interrupted Abu Motaleb and said that only 32,000 of the 8 lakh registered companies in the country submit VAT returns.
"How many of your small and medium-sized businesses pay VAT?" You do a demonstration unnecessarily. If you take the street, you will be arrested, "said Muhith, an irritated.
So the businessmen present here began to protest against the comment of the Minister of Finance.
Some stood up and began shouting.
First Vice President of FBCCI Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin tried to calm things down.
He said that companies were still engaged in a dialogue. "We do not have to see the budget yet, we expect our valid requests to be definitely taken into consideration and they are working on it, so be patient and we will not be taxed."
Later, Muhith suggested to Motaleb to withdraw his statement and declared that Motaleb threatened to put the country down.
"It is very unfair to issue threats here," he said.
NBR president, Nojibur Rahman, said nothing could be achieved by force. "Be logical for the improvement of the nation, we will be with you".
He said that the Minister of Finance wanted to give a lot to businesses.
Nojibur said the NBR would remain open to discussions in order to be able to frame policies favorable to consumers and taxpayers, companies and investments.
"If you can not respect us, do not dishonor.
"If you help us to maintain our dignity, we will serve you," he said.
Speaking to The Daily Star yesterday, a senior official of the NBR said that a large amount of VAT did not fit into the state coffer due to poor compliance with standards.
Part of the VAT comes from VAT at source, said the official who asked not to be named.
It was difficult for the tax authority to detect the source due to the lack of VAT administration capacity and collusion between field officials and dishonest enterprises.