The government plans to raise the annual tax exemption ceiling for women entrepreneurs in the upcoming fiscal year.
National Board of Revenue (NBR) sources said the revenue board has kept a provision enabling women entrepreneurs to get tax exemption facility on an annual transaction of Tk 7 million, which is now Tk 5 million.
Women Entrepreneurs Network for Development Association (WEND) president Nadia Binte Amin appreciated such policy but alleged that all the women entrepreneurs of the country were not receiving the benefits of the government’s move.
“We appreciate the raising of tax exemption ceiling for women entrepreneurs. But the facility is hardly reaching the women. The traditional businessmen are grabbing the opportunities applying different mechanisms,” Nadia Binte Amin added.
She said the WEND urged the revenue authorities to increase the tax-free limit to Tk 500,000 on individual level for the women entrepreneurs, which is now Tk 350,000.
“We suggested introducing a provision of 4 percent turnover tax for the women entrepreneurs on annual transaction of Tk 5 million to Tk 30 million. Besides, the budget should mention the measures to inspire entrepreneurs from the underprivileged third-gender community,” the Wend president said.
Women and e-Commerce Forum (WE) president Nasima Akter Nisha hoped that if the tax-free transaction ceiling is raised, it will help empowerment of the women in business sector.
“The entrepreneurship mindset has been grown among the women during the last couple of years. The women have started contributing to the country’s economy,” said Nasima Akter.
She said the policy reformation in the new fiscal year may be a trend setting decision.
WE president added that the digital transformation of the businesses has created a convenient environment for the women as they can perform their activities from across the globe due to the connectivity.
According to the WE, there are 400,000 women involved in e-commerce sector as the entrepreneurship in this sector grew during the pandemic.
Nasima added that the timeline for repayment of stimulus is two years, which seems to be tough for the women entrepreneurs during the pandemic.
“The government should extend the timeline to 5 years to help women tackle the challenges as most of the business is hit hard by the pandemic,” she said.
Bangladesh has ranked in bottom among 58 economies in the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs for 2020, meaning the country is among the toughest places for female business owners.
The ranking is based on an analysis across 12 indicators and 25 sub-indicators spanning advancement outcomes, knowledge assets and financial access, and supporting entrepreneurial conditions.
Bangladesh’s 20 percent women-headed and 40 percent men-headed businesses are involved in the highly impacted sectors because of the pandemic. The ratio is the lowest among the women-headed businesses among the economies covered.