Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal yesterday indicated that the government may consider reducing corporate tax rates for listed firms in the upcoming budget.
"We are gradually reducing all types of taxes every year. We brought reductions to some extent in last year's budget," he said, adding that they have plan to slowly reduce taxes, be it individual or corporate.
He was addressing a virtual press briefing following a pre-budget discussion with noted economists.
Experts proposed expanding the size of stimulus packages and extending the associated loan repayment periods considering the pandemic's prevalence, informed the minister.
They also called for inclusion of people who could not yet avail loans under the packages.
"We will inform the prime minister and she will take a decision," said Kamal.
Meeting sources said the economists proposed more allocation in the health sector, especially for the betterment of tertiary and mid-level services.
The minister said they have a plan for increasing allocations for the health and agriculture sectors and for steps to ensure quality service in the former.
Regarding steps enabling legalising black money, the economists said those discouraged people who duly and regularly pay taxes, informed the minister.
He said there was no such thing as black money as it was just money not declared for some reason.
"There are two issues in income tax evasion and avoidance. Evasion is a crime and if somebody evades paying taxes, we can bring them to book," he said.
And if somebody takes some benefits from the legal framework, it is not a crime rather avoidance is, reasoned the minister, adding that avoidance was acceptable, not evasion.
"We need to stop the sources that create undeclared money. It cannot be done in a day but we shall be able to stop it gradually," he said.
Atiur Rahman, former governor of Bangladesh Bank, said many things were being done for people who take loans and they were even getting access to the stimulus packages.
But nothing is done for those who deposit money, he said.
Sources said eminent economist Prof Rehman Sobhan raised doubts over whether recommendations taken at such pre-budget discussions from experts were taken into cognisance.
He said they were never informed whether their opinions or recommendations were taken into consideration during the formulation of the budget.
Finance Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder said in the future they would inform the economists which of their recommendations have been incorporated.
The secretary also urged the discussants to send them their recommendations in written form.