JS passes Finance Bill 2013

Shakhawat Hossain

The Finance Bill 2013 was passed by the parliament on Saturday keeping scope for legalising undisclosed money through investment in industrial sector, but not in purchasing lands or flats.
The finance minister, AMA Muhith, told the House that the provisions were made due to demands by the businesses.
He said that the undisclosed money, also known as black money, might be legalised through investment in industries, trade and other sectors paying 10 per cent tax in addition to regular tax to ‘tap higher investment in the real sectors.’
He, however, did not explain the other sectors while brining about changes to the bill.
The bill, placed the finance minister on June 6, was passed by voice vote amid opposition’s walkout.
Some opposition lawmakers termed the bill ‘unacceptable’ and demanded soliciting public opinions.
Earlier, prime minister Sheikh Hasina suggested that the finance minister should review the proposed undisclosed money legalising facility in purchasing lands and flats with special attention.
She said steps should be taken so that the value of land would not go beyond the reach of low and middle income groups and scarcity of land for the industries did not increase further.
The proposal for legalising undisclosed money to the real estate sector was also criticised by economists who termed the sector unproductive.
Muhith proposed to waive regulatory duty on some 43 intermediate materials on the request of the prime minister.
The revised bill, passed by the parliament, imposed 10 per cent import duty for newsprints for newspapers and printing industries. The original bill proposed increasing the duty at 30 per cent from the existing 3 per cent.
The revised bill also decreased supplementary duty on bidi manufacturers at 5 per cent from existing 10 per cent.
Advance value added tax on the imported ingredients for cancer drugs was waived in the bill which also kept sweetmeat and furniture manufactures out of purview of VAT for another year.
Muhith expressed satisfaction over the presence of opposition lawmakers, had who boycotted his previous four budgets.
He also focused on the Padma Multipurpose Bridge and withdrawal of the generalised system of preference by the US to give access of the Bangladeshi products to its market.
He thanked the leaders of the opposition Khaleda Zia for her announcement that she would urge the US to withdraw the suspension of GSP.
Saying that budget is ambitious but can be implemented, Muhith criticised those who termed ambitious the projected revenue of the new financial year.
A total of Tk 1,67,459 crore would be generated as revenue with the national board of revenue targeting Tk 1,36,090 crore in revenue.
Muhith on June 5 proposed the national budget for the 2013-14 financial year with a total outlay of Tk 2,22,491 crore with a deficit of  Tk 55,032 crore
He targeted 7.2 per cent growth in gross domestic product and containing inflation at 7 per cent in the new fiscal year, keeping subsidy for agriculture, power and social safety net almost intact.
In the 2012–13 financial year, the GDP grew by 6.03 per cent while the inflation was around 7.7 per cent in the first 11 months.
The finance minister had already hoped that the GDP growth in the outgoing financial year would be more than 6.3 per cent.
He has proposed to borrow Tk 33,964 crore to make up for the deficit. Of which, Tk 25,993 crore will be taken from banking source and Tk 4,971 crore from non-banking sources. The rest of the deficit or Tk 23,729 crore, will be taken from lender and donor agencies.
The parliament is set to pass today the Appropriation Bill 2013.

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