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Business leaders refute finance minister’s claim on money whitening issue

Business leaders refute finance minister’s claim on money whitening issue

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Business leaders from BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMA said they had not made any request to the Finance Minister regarding the money whitening facility.

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Staff Correspondent

Publisted at 6:05 PM, Sat Jun 8th, 2024

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The three leading business organisations in Bangladesh—BGMEA, BKMEA, and BTMA—have refuted Finance Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali's statement that the opportunity to whiten black money was given in response to businessmen’s request.

At a joint press conference held at the BGMEA Complex in Uttara on Saturday, business leaders from these organisations said they had not made such a request to the Finance Minister. 

The conference focused on the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2024-25.

Present at the press conference were SM Mannan, President of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Mohammad Hatem, President of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), and Mohammad Ali Khokon, President of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).

When asked whether government borrowing from banks would adversely affect businesses, BKMEA President Mohammad Hatem said, "If banks have the opportunity to lend to the government, they will not want to lend to us. This is natural. This will discourage investment. You have seen that investment has already decreased in recent years."

BGMEA President SM Mannan said without government support for gas, electricity, and wage costs, it would be impossible to remain competitive in the global apparel market.

He called for the establishment of a special fund for small and medium enterprises in the export-oriented garment sector and an end to harassment by the National Board of Revenue.

At the press conference, the business leaders said they expected supportive policy measures for the garment industry in the budget. Particularly, they hoped the tax at source would be reduced from 1% to 0.5% and considered as the final tax liability, which has not happened.

They reiterated their demand to reduce the tax at source for the garment industry from 1% to 0.5% starting from the next fiscal year.

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