Commerce minister Tofail Ahmed on Wednesday hinted at change to the proposed uniform 15 per cent value added tax on all goods and services.
‘Businesses would be happy with the decision over the uniform VAT rate after the proposed budget for 2017-18 fiscal was passed in the parliament,’ Tofail said while taking part in general discussion on the proposed budget in the house.
He said that prime minister Sheikh Hasina and finance minister AMA Muhith would deal with the proposed imposition of the 15 per cent uniform VAT rate.
‘But, I can say, a pragmatic decision would be taken after a constructive discussion,’ he said.
Ruling and opposition MPs have been lambasting the finance minister for his proposal to implement the uniform VAT rate since placing the budget in the parliament on June 1.
Though the Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act, 2012 was enacted with a uniform 15 per cent VAT on all goods and services, the government could not implement some of the major features of the law due to protests from businesses and lack of consensus on the proposed VAT rate.
Businesses are demanding fixing the uniform rate of VAT at 12 per cent.
Tofail, however, slammed Jatiya Party MP Ziauddin Ahmed for demanding resignation of the finance minister on Tuesday for proposing a ‘budget of unlimited taxes.’
Ziauddin had said, ‘You [Muhith] have placed many budgets. Now you are getting old... take leave and relieve the nation.’
Tofail blasted Ziauddin saying, ‘You are talking about age. Your leader [Hussain Muhammad Ershad] is four-year-older than the finance minister.’
Civil aviation and tourism minister Rashed Khan Menon and Jatiya Party MP Fakhrul Imam also asked for reconsidering the proposed 15 per cent VAT.
Menon sought prime minister’s intervention on the VAT rate, saying that it would hit the poor and lower income people hard.
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