They said a change has been made to the limit on tax-free dividend income by incorporating new provisions in the finance bill placed on the budget day. This change seems limit on tax-free dividend income has been withdrawn creating confusion in the market. And, National Board of Revenue (NBR) has not clarified the issues as yet. We do not understand whether there is a limit on tax-free dividend income or no limit at all. So, the issue should be clarified for the sake of the investors and withdrawal of the limit on tax-free dividend income will discourage general investors.’

The keynote paper further said the proposed budget increased tax at source on interest of institutional investment to 20 per cent and imposed a 15 per cent capital gain tax on interest incomes from government securities. This will decrease institutional investment in stock markets as well as discourage investment in government securities. So, speakers recommended withdrawing these proposed provisions.

Speakers also said currently the limit on tax-free dividend income is Tk 50,000 and a new provision has been incorporated in the finance bill to this end, and that seems the limit has been withdrawn but investors are not getting any clear-cut explanation from NBR. On the other hand, companies involved in share markets proposed to raise the ceiling of tax-free dividend income from Tk 50,000 to Tk 100,000 and that demand was not fulfilled in the budget. Rather, confusion arose over the matter.

Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) chairman Yunusur Rahma, Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) chairman Asif Ibrahim, economics department professor at Dhaka University, Md Helal Uddin, audit firm Snehasish Mahmud and Company partner Snehasish Barua, Capital Market Journalists' Forum (CMJF) president Ziaur Rhaman were present at the event with BICM executive director Mahmuda Akter in the chair.

Professor Helal Uddin said currently, stocks see less demand and the government should rein in supply of shares. Besides, crisis of trust among investors because of manipulation and lack of good governance cause a negative impact in stock market investment.

CSE chairman Asif Ibrahim proposed to fix a 10 per cent gap on corporate tax between listed and non-listed companies.

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