Corruption a barrier for business, corrective measures necessary: IBFB

The IBFB holds a discussion to disclose its budget reaction in the capital on 11 June, 2024.Courtesy

Humayun Rashid, the president of the International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB), has laid emphasis on corrective measures in the budget and highlighted the toll of corruption on business as well as the economy. 

He was speaking at a discussion on the proposed budget at the forum’s office at Tejgaon in Dhaka on Tuesday.

“We have been regularly experiencing the state of the economy. A transitional period now persists in the economy. Corruption remains a barrier for easing up business. There was a need for corrective measures in the budget, but we did not find any such policy in the budget,” he told the discussion. 

He, however, described the budget as realistic and implementable but stressed the need for good governance and proper monitoring to address the challenges. Besides, he stressed clear direction and planning in the budget to enhance efficiency, transparency, accountability, and overall monitoring standards.

The IBFB expressed concerns about the inflation target set in the proposed budget. In his keynote speech, Humayun Rashid said the budget aims to keep inflation at 6.5 per cent, when stood at 9.89 per cent in May. Curbing the inflation rate is a significant challenge, but it must be done to mitigate public sufferings.

Achieving the revenue targets outlined in the budget appears as another major challenge. The macroeconomic indicators and the revenue collection has been under pressure due to the current global reality. 

To meet the revenue targets, the IBFB called for business-friendly revenue management, reforms in revenue collection and introduction of necessary policies at the National Board of Revenue (NBR). Besides, it underscored the need for an expansion of tax net and online services, including extending tax offices to upazilas.

Former NBR chairman and IBFB advisor Abdul Majid laid emphasis on uplifting the economy through necessary corrective measures, saying the country may face a danger in 2026 if there happens no economic transition in the meantime.

He also pointed out that while the budget used to increase by 12-13 per cent  annually, it saw a decrease to 4-5 per cent his year. The budget shifted towards indirect taxes as there is no significant initiative for direct tax collection. Economic disparities would not decrease unless there is an increase in direct tax.

Abdul Majid also criticised the budget for allowing black money to be legalised without scrutiny.

Former IBFB president Hafizur Rahman Khan, vice president Lutfunnisa Saudia Khan, and other officials were present at the programme.