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 IT leaders for income tax exemption until 2021

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Join date : 2010-05-27

PostSubject: IT leaders for income tax exemption until 2021   Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:53 am

FE Report

IT leaders Sunday urged the government to extend income tax exemption facilities for the IT services industries until 2021 to attract more investment in the sector.

The income tax exemption incentive for the IT industries which is allowed till 2011 should be extended by 10 more years, they said at a post-budget press conference in the city.

"Such measures would help the local software and IT industries to grow by drawing more investment in the sector," President of Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) Mostafa Jabbar told the reporters.

"Simultaneously, this would also coincide with the government's vision of Digital Bangladesh and thus stimulate the ongoing automation and digitisation projects," he added.

BCS, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) jointly organised the press briefing.

Focusing on last week's national budget, industry leaders said it has not lived up to their expectations as a number of highly anticipated fiscal measures were not present in the proposed allocations.

Citing examples, they referred to the absence of the proposed money allocation for ICT in the annual development budget and the revenue budget which the national ICT policy provisioned.

"The ICT policy stipulates that 5.0 per cent of the annual development budget and 2.0 per cent of the revenue budget must be allocated for the IT sector, but the provision remains to be fulfilled", Jabbar said.

In Thursday's budget speech, Finance Minister AMA Muhith proposed an allocation of Tk 1.12 billion for the ICT sector from its non-development budget while another Tk 2.0 billion was allocated for ICT through the existing Equity and Entrepreneurship Fund.

But the industry insiders noted that the amount is just a small chunk of what was originally stipulated by the government policies and provisions.

"According to the ICT policy rules, a hefty amount of Tk 28 billion should have been allocated this year through ADP and revenue budget for the IT sector, but what we have received in total is merely Tk 3.12 billion," said President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services Mahboob Zaman.

Industry leaders also urged for creating the Tk 7.0 billion ICT development fund which is yet to be materialised while demanding VAT and duty waiver on all sorts of computer and IT equipment.

It was also noted that although the budget emphasised establishing hi-tech parks, software and technology parks as well as setting up a second submarine cable, no specific money allocation was proposed for these ventures.

"We expect some allocation for the ICT in the Tk 16 billion Bangladesh Infrastructure Finance Fund as there is no direct mentioning of ICT in the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) budget allocation," Zaman said.

"We are ready to develop and work with a new business model to work under a PPP frame", he added.

Industry leaders also called for reducing the internet bandwidth price from Tk 18,000 to Tk 7,000 with a view to making internet more affordable to the people.

"With the reduced price, we can offer broadband internet at even Tk 300 to the rural people," said the President of internet service providers association Akhteruzzaman Manju.
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