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US Ambassador Haas Pledges Support for Improved Labor Standards in Bangladesh’s RMG Sector

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US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Peter Haas, expressed the United States’ commitment to strengthening collaboration with the private sector and various stakeholders in Bangladesh to promote internationally recognized labor rights, particularly in the Readymade Garment (RMG) industry. Speaking at the Bangladesh Cotton Day 2023, Ambassador Haas emphasized the recent minimum wage review in the RMG sector as evidence of the necessity for an objective, inclusive, and evidence-based National Wage Policy. He highlighted the importance of robust labor laws and their effective implementation, considering them crucial for the bilateral relationship, sustainable development, and creating a stable environment for US companies in Bangladesh.

In addressing the RMG sector, Ambassador Haas underscored the US mission’s dedication to achieving sustainable and broadly shared prosperity through enhanced labor standards. Recognizing labor rights as integral to the continued growth of Bangladesh’s RMG sector, he referenced the US Secretary of State’s announcement of a new global labor strategy, emphasizing increased engagement with various stakeholders to promote and protect the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

During the event, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan sought Ambassador Haas’s assistance in conveying the industry’s efforts and concerns to the US administration.

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NBR Extends Corporate Tax Deadline to Apr 30

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Ministry of Education mbr national government bangladesh Ramadan

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has extended the deadline for filing corporate tax returns by two months, considering the interest of the public

An order, signed by the Second Secretary of NBR (Tax Law-1) Bapan Chandra Das, was issued in this regard today (27 February).

According to the Income Tax Act-2023, the last day for corporate tax return submission was previously fixed on 28 February.

Citing public interest, NBR has changed the deadline from 28 February to 30 April for fiscal year 2023-24.

The NBR can slap a fine if a company misses a deadline.

Earlier last week, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI) sought a two-month extension of companies’ income tax return submission deadline.

The country’s apex trade body cited a lack of understanding among businesses about the newly enacted Income Tax Act 2023, the global economic crisis, and the rush to import commodities ahead of Ramadan for not being able to file tax returns within the existing period.

The letter reads, “Businessmen of the country continue to contribute to the overall economic development and prosperity. The new Income Tax Act-2023 has been enacted recently to make the tax system sustainable, modern and people-friendly. There is still no complete understanding among businessmen about the new act.

“Besides, the traders are busy with the import and export of daily necessities ahead of Ramadan amid the adverse global situation, inflation, and dollar. So, there has been a delay in preparing the necessary papers and documents for the audit activities.”

The letter further said it requires a long time to get the documents’ verification code from the audit firms, resulting in delays for the companies to get the audit report.

In view of the requests made by various member organisations of the FBCCI, the trade body feels that at least two more months are required for companies to file their returns, according to the letter.

“In such a situation, it is necessary to extend the deadline for filing company tax returns till 30 April 2024 by continuing the penalty-free and other benefits under Section 334 of the Income Tax Act 2023,” the FBCCI said.

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Japan’s Consumer Inflation Hits 2% in January, BOJ Policy Shift Speculation Grows

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Government data released on Tuesday revealed that Japanese consumer inflation slowed for the third consecutive month to 2.0 percent in January. The dip in the core Consumer Price Index (CPI), excluding volatile fresh food prices, follows a December increase of 2.3 percent. While slightly higher than economists’ expectations of 1.9 percent, the reading continues a broader trend of cooling inflation over the past year.

The Bank of Japan (BOJ), facing speculation about its policy stance, has maintained ultra-loose policies, including negative interest rates. Despite the slowdown in inflation, BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda indicated last month that a major shift away from their ultra-loose stance was not imminent. The central bank attributes Japan’s current inflation to temporary factors, such as increased energy costs, and aims to see a “virtuous cycle” of sustained price increases driven by demand and higher wages.

Japan’s economy recently contracted by 0.1 percent in the last quarter of 2023, missing expectations for growth. With the revised negative growth in the third quarter, Japan officially entered a technical recession in the second half of 2023.

UBS economists Masamichi Adachi and Go Kurihara anticipate the BOJ to end its current monetary easing policy framework, including negative interest rates, in the bank’s April meeting. Despite slowing CPI inflation and weak growth, they believe the BOJ is forward-looking and optimistic about both growth and underlying inflation, expecting an increase in real wages with accelerating wage growth.

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BGMEA, MAQI Technology Group Join Forces to Transform Bangladesh’s RMG Industry

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In a strategic move to enhance the capabilities and competitiveness of Bangladesh’s ready-made garment (RMG) industry, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has forged a partnership with MAQI Technology Group Co Ltd. The collaboration announced at a ceremony held at Radisson Blu in Dhaka, focuses on integrating cutting-edge technology, advanced machinery, and skill development for RMG workers.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan, attending the event as the chief guest, emphasized the significance of the partnership in elevating the skills and expertise of RMG workers in operating advanced machines. The goal is to empower these workers with the latest skills essential for excelling in garment sewing.

The partnership aims to provide comprehensive training programs, establish modern lab facilities equipped with Euromac’s state-of-the-art machines and technology. These facilities will serve as platforms where aspiring sewing workers can refine their craft under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Euromac, a key player in providing advanced machines, will extend technical support to both BGMEA and the BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT). This collaboration aims to develop the skills and knowledge of industry workers and BUFT students, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic landscape of garment manufacturing.

Faruque Hassan underscored the industry’s commitment to leveraging technology, skills, and innovation to diversify products and capture higher-value segments in the global fashion market. He highlighted the pivotal role of technology and skills development in ensuring the industry’s relevance and sustainability amid evolving market dynamics. The partnership reflects a forward-looking approach to position Bangladesh’s RMG industry at the forefront of technological advancement and global competitiveness.

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