It’s not clear whether the Cabinet will discuss the draft budget submitted by the Finance Ministry. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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The government should focus on collecting around $4.2 billion of unpaid taxes, electricity bills and real estate registration fees instead of imposing new taxes, a leading economist said Wednesday.Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil has introduced 27 taxes and fee items in his 2017 draft budget which caused wide division among the ministers and angered both the private sector and labor unions.The Association of Banks have been lobbying hard in the past few days to dissuade the government from adding more taxes on the lenders and increasing taxes on interest of deposits from five to 7 percent.It is important to describe it in detail so that public opinion, ministers, and members of Parliament see what they are about to do," Sader said in the article.He explained thoroughly his reservations to some of the taxes and gave some examples.This means that developers and owners of vacant buildings, and those living abroad, will be taxed as if these properties were occupied," Sader said.He was particularly critical of the taxes on banks and taxes on interest on deposits."Taxable instruments are Treasury Bills and certificates of deposit that banks carry in their portfolios for an average of seven years," Sader added.He cautioned that such taxes would have a negative effect on the banking sector.
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