2018-10-09 14:36:39 BdST

Why foreign investors leaving, PMO asks NBR


The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has asked the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to find reasons behind the departure of some large foreign investors.

In a recent meeting, the PMO wanted to know whether the NBR could do something to bring back their investment.

PMO Principal Coordinator SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Affairs Md Abul Kalam Azad said some major industrial units and airlines are withdrawing their business operations from Bangladesh.

"NBR will have to examine the reasons behind their departure, and consider possible measures in this regard," he said in the meeting, according to officials who were present at the meeting.

An aviation sector source said since January last, four foreign airlines have left Bangladesh. They are -- Bangkok Airways, Thai Smile, Oman Air, and Etihad Airways.

Besides, Glaxosmithkline has closed operations of its pharmaceuticals plant in Bangladesh.

Sources said such withdrawal of investment may give a negative signal to potential investors, if the government fails to address the issue properly.

PMO Principal Secretary and former chairman of NBR Md Nojibur Rahman chaired the meeting, held at the PMO recently. The meeting was organised to review the activities of the NBR.

Directives of the meeting have been forwarded to the NBR for taking necessary actions.

According to the decisions of the meeting, NBR will have to organise meetings between PMO, the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), the Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and other major business associations.

Through the meetings, the NBR would try to find out what type of support the business community wants from it.

Different trade associations, in earlier meetings with PMO, have raised their various problems relating to tax and other issues.

Those issues can be addressed through the planned meetings, according to a working paper of the PMO meeting.

The NBR will also have to be cautious in checking tax evasion by some dishonest businesses, and also strengthen its surveillance.

The PMO also asked the NBR to strengthen efforts to thwart tax evasion by illegal foreign workers in Bangladesh.

"The NBR's initiative to prepare a database of foreign workers in Bangladesh has to be finalised on an urgent basis," one of the directives said.

Besides, the NBR will have to place the draft Customs Act 2018 before the parliament in the next session.

The board will also have to expedite drafting of the new income tax law in Bangla in line with the finance minister's budgetary promise.

The NBR's Customs wing will have to take effective preventive measures to check entry of import-restricted items, such as - radioactive explosive materials, and drone or any other products that can pose threat to national security.

In the meeting, the PMO principal coordinator said the Income Tax, VAT and Customs wings should conduct analysis what effective role they could play to deliver similar services in the country's rural areas like the urban areas.

High officials of NBR presented updates on tax revenue collection, digitization of tax administration and other reform activities at the meeting.

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