BGMEA seeks policy support, pushes for making tax at source at 0.50pc

Logo of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association

The country's apparel manufacturers and exporters on Saturday sought policy support from the government in the ensuing budget for the next fiscal year (FY25), including making effective the tax at source at the previous 0.50 percent instead of 1 percent against exports and thus keeping it intact for next five years.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) also proposed for keeping intact the government incentives till 2029 as well as reducing the tax on cash incentives at 5 percent from the existing 10 percent.

BGMEA president SM Mannan Kochi made this proposal while addressing a view-exchange meeting with the journalists at a Dhaka hotel.

The entire newly-elected BGMEA board, after assumption of its office on April 4 this year, was present on the occasion.

Besides, former BGMEA president and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam, former BGMEA president Abdus Salam Murshedy, MP, and former BGMEA president and Awami League Industries and Commerce Secretary Siddiqur Rahman spoke, among others, on the occasion.

Highlighting the future plans of the BGMEA board to further move forward this sector, SM Mannan also urged the government to keep various products and services related to RMG industry free from VAT, providing tax rebate on import of fire safety equipments, providing special allocation as food rationing for the workers, extending support in export and investment of non-cotton items.

"We hope that these recommendations will be reflected in the ensuing budget," he added.

Mentioning that the country's apparel export target has been set at $100 billion by 2030, Mannan said it would not be possible to attain this export target unless the government policy support is available.

The BGMEA president said the number of direct export-oriented RMG factories in the country has now declined to 2,200 from the previous 5,000. Had had the direct export-oriented RMG factories remained in operation, then the export volume could have been much higher and thus could create more newer employments, he added.

Mannan said there is immense potential for raising further the global share of Bangladesh's RMG industry as it now represents only 7.87 percent of the international chunk.

"If, all kinds of government support remains intact, then our RMG sector will be able to play a pioneering role in building Smart Bangladesh as envisioned by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and a poverty-free Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman," he said.

The BGMEA president said the new board is putting priority on a number of issues which include resolving RSC related complexities, simplification of business, continuing cash incentives till 2029 and providing alternative support, taking bank and financial sector service related initiatives, introducing exit policy and export credit guaranty facilities, bringing in the SMEs under special policy support and financing schemes, increasing competitive edge through automation and digitalization, taking initiatives on product and market diversification, food rationing and welfare of the workers, fixing fair price of products and floor price, formulating unified code of conduct, increasing capacity of the industry for building environment-friendly factories, and providing special policy support for motivating investment in man-made fiber -based industry.

Mannan also vowed to reintroduce the BGMEA's journalism fellowship, sought government interventions in resolving customs, VAT and bond related complexities at the NBR, listed various steps in diversification of product and market, sought government's attention in addressing the power and energy crisis as well as addressing the complexities on HS code and on the weight of woven fabric, not giving gas and power connections to industries outside the industrial areas.

The BGMEA president said they have already urged the government to bring those people under the purview of the law who deter the export operations, harass the exporters, and cause harm to the country's economy.

Former BGMEA president and DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam said since the country's independence, no other sector in the country could become parallel to the RMG sector.

He urged the industry leaders to move forward in comparison with standards of the RMG industry of the neighboring countries.