Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Sheikh Fazle Fahim on Thursday criticised finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and National Board of Revenue chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, saying that they had failed to remove the hurdles the country’s businesspeople were facing.
‘After 11 months of taking charge of the office of finance ministry, the minister now says that the rate of bank loan interest in Bangladesh is very high and it is difficult to do business with the interest rate,’ Fahim said at the inaugural ceremony of a three-day international ceramic exposition in the capital.
‘What has he done in last 11 months to reform the country’s banking sector?’ he questioned.
The Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association is holding the fair titled ‘Ceramic Expo Bangladesh-2019’ at the International Convention City, Bashundhara in Dhaka.
Fahim said it was unfortunate that the finance minister was making comments on interest rate when country’s businesses raised their voice and expressed concern over the high rate of interest.
‘The prime minister respects businesspeople a lot but several departments of the government create impediments to doing business,’ he said.
Criticising the NBR chairman, Fahim said that he was supposed to attend the augural ceremony of the exhibition but remained absent though many foreign and local businesses attended the programme.
He claimed that the NBR realised supplementary duty even from moisture as ceramic raw materials generally contained 30 per cent moisture.
‘We know SD is imposed to protect the local industry but the NBR has imposed SD on ceramic raw materials to hinder the growth of local industry. Most probably the NBR chairman has skipped the event [the inaugural ceremony of the fair] for this reason,’ Fahim said.
Commerce minister Tipu Munshi said that bank loan interest rate should bring down to single digit as businesses faced difficulties to run their business with the interest at 12-14 per cent.
He said that if interest rate did not come down to single digit, non-performing loans in banks would go up.
Tipu Munshi said that the country’s banking sector had been enjoying a lot of benefits from the government but they were not reducing the bank loan interest rate.
BCMEA president Md Shirajul Islam Mollah and general secretary Irfan Uddin also spoke at the opening ceremony.
More than 120 participants with 150 brands of ceramic and allied products from 20 countries including host Bangladesh are showcasing their products at the fair. More than 300 international delegates and 500 buyers also join the exhibition.
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