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Muhith hints at increasing holdings tax in Dhaka city

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FT ONLINE

Finance Minister AMA Muhith recently said that the rate of holdings tax for the two city corporations in Dhaka would rise soon.

“I think Dhaka South and North City corporations will be able to generate sufficient revenues from the holdings tax, which has not been revised since 1961-62.”

Citing an example of his own, Muhith said he has a 14-katha land in Banani and he has to pay Tk11,000 per year as holdings tax. “As I get rebate, I pay only Tk6,000 as the holdings tax,” he said.

During Sadeque Hossain Khoka’s tenure as mayor, a notice was issued to increase the rate by 11 times, but it was later withdrawn, the minister recalled.

“I have discussed this with the two mayors since they were elected. They are working on it and we will fix a new rate of holdings tax for the two city corporations soon.”

Muhith was speaking at a programme titled “Improving Fiscal Transparency in Bangladesh,” organised by Policy Research Institute while Deputy Chief of Mission at US Embassy in Dhaka Joel Reifman was present as a special guest.

Policy Research Institute (PRI) Executive Director Ahsan H Mansur presented the keynote speech at the event while its Chairman Zaidi Sattar chaired the event.

The speakers said the annual fiscal operations of treasury and state-owned enterprises are not clearly discussed or presented in the budget and the website.

The discussants also suggested changing the timing of fiscal year and strong national audit for revenue mobilisation and expenditure.

PRI Vice-Chairman Sadiq Ahmed, ex-finance secretary Zakir Ahmed Khan and former NBR chief also Abdul Majid spoke at the event.

-SAM

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