‘Budget 2012-13 may be passed without change’

Jun 22nd, 2012 2:22 pm BdST

Abdur Rahim Harmachi
bdnews24.com Chief Economic Correspondent

Dhaka, Jun 22 (bdnews24.com)—Parliament is going to clear the budget proposed for 2012-13 fiscal without any major changes.

It will be placed for passage on Jun 28 after ‘some’ changes.

On Jun 27, the Finance Bill will be presented to Parliament for passage. The new financial year starts on Jul 1.

The budget is going to be passed earlier than other years as Jun 29 and 30 are public holidays. The previous budget for the outgoing fiscal was passed on Jun 29 and the Finance Bill on Jun 28.

Finance Minister A M A Muhith told bdnews24.com: “There will be no major changes in the proposed budget. Some insignificant things may be changed.

“Like I have already said, the government will consider the matter of charging 2 percent tax at source on mobile phone bills,” he added.

“Besides that,” he continued, “I am examining the proposals that came from several quarters on the proposed budget. But I can say that no major changes will be made.”

Leaders of FBCCI, BTMEA, BGMEA and BKMEA urged Muhith in a views-exchange meeting on Thursday to withdraw proposals to increase tax at source on exports and set the ceiling of tax-free income at Tk 220,000.

President of the apex business body FBCCI A K Azad reasoned, “Growth of exports fell 8 percent due to recession. It will decrease more.”

“In these circumstances, if the tax at source on exports is set at 1.2 percent, it will impact the exports negatively,” he argued.

BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, BKMEA President Selim Osman and BTMEA President Jahangir Alam also called for withdrawal of the proposal.

Muhith said, “We’ll see. You’ll know it on the 27th of this month.”

Following tradition, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may request Muhith to bring some changes to the budget before the Finance Bill is cleared and the Finance Minister will make the changes for passage.

FBCCI chief Azad told bdnews24.com after the meeting: “The Prime Minister will take a decision on reducing tax at source. I hope she sees our demand in a positive light.”

Facing demands from several quarters, the Finance Minister has already promised to reduce tax at source on mobile phone bills. His first indication came in the media conference on the budget on Jun 8, a day after it was presented to Parliament.

In a meeting with the mobile-phone operators last Wednesday, Muhith said he would reconsider the issue.

The proposed budget proposes to levy 2 percent tax at source on mobile phone bills.

According to the proposal, the tax will be charged on the total bill for post-paid subscribers and on the sale of top-up cards or during recharge in case of pre-paid users.

The Finance Minister had a long meeting with National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Nasiruddin Ahmed and members, too, on Thursday.

A Ministry of Finance official, requesting anonymity, told bdnews24.com that they discussed changes in the budget.

“The proposal to raise tax at source from 10 percent to 15 percent on interest of deposit in banks or financial institutions by those without Tax Identification Number (TIN) would be withdrawn,” he said.

Muhith had presented the Tk 1.91-trillion budget on Jun 7. The general discussion on the proposed budget is going on in Parliament. From Sunday, parliament sessions will start in the morning.