In the proposed Finance Bill 2019 placed in parliament on June 13, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal proposed to make e-TIN mandatory to obtain or maintain power connection for all types of consumers
The government’s Power Division feels the proposal in the new budget making tax identification number (TIN) mandatory for electricity lines will complicate the process of obtaining new connections.
In the proposed Finance Bill 2019 placed in parliament on June 13, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal proposed to make e-TIN mandatory to obtain or maintain power connection for all types of consumers, including residential, and commercial, in city corporations, cantonment board, and municipalities across the country.
Previously, e-TIN was mandatory only for commercial power connections.
The proposal aims to widen the tax net in an effort to expand revenue collection, but the Power Division considers it “unreasonable.”
The Finance Division would be requested to withdraw the proposal, and a letter was forwarded to the Finance Ministry on Monday over the matter, said a senior Power Division official, asking not to be named.
State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid in the letter urged the Finance Ministry to withdraw the proposal.
The letter said that there are 33.4 million consumers of electricity at present, across the country. Of them, 26.4 million were consumers under the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board – 12 million of which are in rural areas.
While addressing the parliament on June 23, State Minister Nasrul had said: “It will be tough for consumers, especially in rural areas, to obtain a TIN for power connection.”
The letter sent to the Finance Ministry also echoed his concern.
Regarding the matter, Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain said they hoped the Finance Ministry would consider their request.
Obtaining TIN might not be a problem for bulk consumers because most of them pay income tax, he said. “But the number of our rural consumers are much higher than them. This proposal should be withdrawn after taking them into consideration.”
Dhaka Electric Supply Company Limited (Desco) Managing Director Brig Gen (retd) Md Shahid Sarwar says that the provision will only make the process of getting a new connection “further complicated.”
“In the case of residential connections, a landlord or tenant may not have TIN. Moreover, a new connection requires quite a lot of documents, and it will further complicate the process for a client,” said the Desco managing director.
According to him, the new provision will create a major problem for low-income groups to get electricity connections.
For a residential connection, a consumer has to submit copies of their national ID or passport, deed of land, fire service clearance in case of over a 10-storey building, and construction clearance from authorities in case of city corporations or municipalities.
For commercial and industrial connections, clearances from the environment department, and fire service are required along with the above-mentioned documents.