Saturday, February 23, 2019 | ePaper

Check corruption first to ensure proper business climate

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THE Finance Minister on Thursday came up with big promises to improve the business climate, reduce the interest rate on lending, bring down bad loans, boost revenue income and develop the capital market. He vowed to carry on the promises for boosting economic growth and to live up to the expectations of the private sector. "We have to reduce the interest rate or else doing business will be tough….We will not impose any tax target on the National Board of Revenue. Rather, they will let us know what they can achieve," the Minister said after a meeting with business leaders in the city. Vowing to reduce the non-performing loans, he further said tax offices will be set up at 492 Upazilas across the country to increase revenue without hiking the existing rates.
We know, despite taking several mega-projects spending millions of taka, the number of foreign direct investment was negligible till the date. The business leaders also said they faced problems in doing business in the steel, cement, pharmaceuticals and some other sectors.  "A frustration is observed amongst the businesses as we assured them every year that we would fulfil their demands, but those are yet to be implemented," the Minister said. Indeed it's an honest confession of the Finance Minister.  It's a pragmatic observation too.
Though the country witnessed a steady growth of around seven per cent in the last couple of years, the overall business condition was not satisfactory at all. In particular, the banks - State-owned and private commercial both -- have experienced an unhealthy situation due to large amount of bad and unrecoverable loans. Such banking atmosphere has severely bothered the country's businesses and entrepreneurs.  Apart from big-scale corruption, the banking sector was also allegedly involved directly or indirectly in money siphoning through misinvoicing.
However, the banks and the loan defaulters both have got some extra facilities to overcome the situation. We expect, the business climate would be improved, the banks will be able to recover their lost image, and the business would be no more get frustrated. But first of all, the Finance Ministry will have to play a strict role to check the corrupt practices.

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