Govt may lower ceiling for NRBs to get CIP status

Staff Correspondent | Published at 12:05am on July 13, 2018

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A file photo shows the National Board of Revenue headquarters in Dhaka.-- New Age

The government may lower the ceiling on investment in wage earner development bond, US dollar premium bond and investment bond for awarding commercially important person status to non-resident Bangladeshis.
National Board of Revenue chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, also senior secretary of the Internal Resource Division of the finance ministry, on Thursday said that the government would consider the issue to encourage more NRBs to invest in the bonds.
He made the comment at a programme arranged by the IRD to hand over the CIP cards at the NBR office in Dhaka.
Officials attended the meeting said that NBR chairman promised to consider the proposal for lowering the investment ceiling.
Currently, an NRB can get the CIP status by investing $1 million and above in US dollar premium bond and US dollar investment bond, and Tk 8 crore or equivalent US dollar in wage earners’ development bond.
At the programme, Mosharraf handed over new and renewed CIP cards to 15 investors who proposed relaxation of the limit to recognise more NRBs as CIP for investing in the bonds, they said.
They said that a CIP as an investor in bonds got several benefits including a CIP card, rights to entry at the secretariat, letter of introduction issued by the foreign ministry to embassies and high commissions in case of travelling abroad, priority in meeting with the government high officials at home and abroad, invitation to national events at foreign missions, priority in reservation of seats in Biman, rail, road and water transport, and in using VIP lounge at airports.
The NBR chairman also urged the NRBs to make more investment in the bonds to reap the higher benefits the bonds offered compared with other investment schemes.
He said that yield from investment in the bonds was as high as 12 per cent while the income was also tax free.
Arif Ahmed Chowdhury, Monir Hossain and Selina Islam attended the programme, among other CIPs.
Officials said that sales of foreign currency bonds were still lower than what was expected though the government offered comparatively better benefits for the schemes.
The government on several occasions took various steps to encourage the NRBs to invest more in the bonds but could not attract them due to lack of awareness among the NRBs about the schemes, poor campaign on the part of the government and procedural complexities for the purchase.
In December, 2017, Bangladesh Bank also asked the authorised dealer banks to increase sales of these bonds at district and upazila levels to increase investment of remittance money in the sector.
According to the Directorate of National Savings, the net sales of the three schemes stood at Tk 1,067 crore in the fiscal year of 2016-2017.
Wage earners development bond drew the highest amount of net investment worth Tk 917 crore followed by Tk 152 crore by US dollar investment bond while the net investment in US dollar premium bond was negative Tk 9.9 crore in the year.
The accumulated outstanding stock in the three schemes stood at Tk 9,581 crore in FY 2017, rising from Tk 5,085 crore in FY 2009, the DNS data showed.