SME Foundation yesterday termed the proposed budget for the fiscal year of 2021-22 pro-small and medium enterprises (SMEs), saying the finance minister has considered several proposals the agency had recommended.
"There are still some unmet proposals which will be sent to the National Board of Revenue again," said the foundation at a press conference yesterday.
"The budget is not only business-friendly but also SME-friendly," said Md Mafizur Rahman, managing director of SME Foundation, which works to develop SMEs.
The tax for non-listed companies has reduced to 30 per cent from 32.5 per cent, which would be fruitful for the SMEs, he said.
The proposed budget suggested reducing advance income tax on raw materials and increasing import duty on some products produced by the local SME sector.
Among the foundation's 63 proposals, the government has taken steps about 14, Rahman said.
"The government accepted some of our proposals, realising the importance of the SME sector. We are analysing which ones we should resend to the NBR," he said, adding that they would not send all of them.
"The needs and importance of the SME sector were depicted in the proposed budget, said Md Masudur Rahman, chairperson of the SME Foundation.
The finance minister has given incentives to the light engineering sector. "We understand that all the sectors cannot get the same benefits at the same time," he said.
"So, we are not saying that expectations of all the SME sectors were met in the budget. In this perspective, we are requesting the government put emphasis on other sectors as well," he said.
The government has granted tax exemption to new entrepreneurs for 10 years, and it is a very good step to attract new investments, he said.
About the impact of Covid-19, the SME Foundation chairman said the SME sector had been in a better position if the fear at the start of the pandemic was taken into account.
"We face some challenges, including the ones on increasing investment and improving domestic consumption," he said.
"If we can overcome the challenges, then our economic trend will remain active."
The SME Foundation said the government could accept some of its proposals to give a boost to the sector.
At present, the turnover tax is 4 per cent on the turnover from Tk 50 lakh to Tk 3 crore, which should be reduced, it said.
It also suggested offering tax exemption to new entrepreneurs, reducing corporate tax for export-oriented SMEs, providing at least 20 per cent cash incentive to SME exporters, and making it mandatory for the government to purchase products and services produced by SMEs.