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Friday, May 22, 2009

Muhith eyes Tk 800b revenue target

The Financial Express

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has hinted at fixing the government's overall revenue income target at nearly Tk 800 billion for the next fiscal without putting any extra tax burden on the public.Of the total, the target of generating revenue under the National Board of Revenue (NBR) would be fixed at around Tk 600 billion and the target of revenue from sources outside NBR Tk 180 billion to Tk 200 billion in the budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2009-10, he said Thursday.

In the original budget for the FY 2008-09 the government's total revenue earnings target was set at Tk 693.80 billion - Tk 545 billion under NBR, Tk 22.88 billion non-NBR revenue and Tk 125.92 billion from non-tax sources, according to official figures."In the next budget we will enhance our tax mobilisation target in such a manner that it does not create any additional tax burden on the public," the finance minister said while talking to newsmen at his ministry after a meeting with a delegation of the Newspapers Owners Association of Bangladesh (NOAB), led by its president Mahbubul Alam.

Responding to a question, the finance minister said: "Our general tax policy will be to support the local sectors that are able to produce quality products at competitive prices."About his meeting with the NOAB leaders, Mr Muhith said the local newspaper owners have made two key proposals--maintaining the existing 'zero' tariff rate on import of newsprints and enhancing the allocation in the next budget to facilitate quick payments on the government's advertisement bills.

Not only the quality of local newsprint is lower than the imported, but also the supply of local newsprints is irregular, Mr Muhith informed the media quoting the NOAB representatives as saying."They have informed me that in spite of having poor quality, the price of local newsprint is around 25 per cent higher than the imported," said the minister.

Considering the situation, the local newspaper owners have made a proposal to allow them to import newsprints from abroad as per their requirements, he mentioned.The minister further said the newspaper owners also claimed that the use of 50 per cent local newsprint also created a problem for them.

Also demanding a hike in the government's advertisement bills in line with the pay hikes of newspaper employees under the latest 7th Wage Board, the NOAB leaders proposed to streamline the bill payment system, Mr Muhith mentioned.

The NOAB president informed newsmen that during the meeting they had proposed to keep the existing 'zero' tariff rate on import of newsprint unchanged in the next budget for helping implement the seventh Wage Board.

"We want to use quality newsprint … So, we have urged the finance minister to allow us to freely import from aboard, as is the practice in some other countries including India," Mr Mahbubul Alam said.Responding to a question, he said the finance minister assured the NOAB members of considering their proposals.

The News Today Editor Reazuddin Ahmed, Prothom Alo Editor Motiur Rahman, Sangbad Editor Altamas Kabir and Manab Zamin Editor Motiur Rahman Chowdhury were present at the meeting with the finance minister.



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