Metropolitan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) yesterday requested the revenue authorities to reduce import duties across the board to help grow the local trade and industries.
They recommended reducing the duty on capital machinery, industrial raw materials, intermediate goods and finished goods at a pre-budget meeting with National Board of Revenue (NBR) at its headquarters in Dhaka. NBR Chairman Ghulam Hossain chaired the meeting.
In case of capital machinery, they want the duty should be 1.5% from 3% while cutting it to 2.5% for raw materials from 5%, intermediate goods from 12% to 7.5% and finished products from 25% to 20%.
The duty-cut was one of the 73-point charter of demands they placed before the NBR for their consideration to accommodate in the budget for the next fiscal year.
Adeeb H Khan of MCCI placed few of the proposals that included 43 on income tax, 6 on customs act amendment and 24 on amendment of Value Added Tax act 1991.
The chamber also suggested removing the 5% regulatory duty at import stage of some basic raw materials and intermediate goods.
It demanded reducing the Advance Income Tax to 3% from existing 5%.
The chamber urged the NBR to renew the income tax incentives being enjoyed by the seven sectors such as apparel, jute, handmade products, newly set up industries, newly constructed physical infrastructure, poultry, fisheries and livestock. The incentives expire this year, it pointed out.
It wanted to extend the tax rebates and other benefits being enjoyed by the local software to the imported software too. It sought changes in the rule that imposes income tax on associations.
They asked NBR to do some amendments in Value Added Tax act 1991 and its relevant SRO’s.
MCCI president Rokia Afzal Rahman said the prevailing political unrest has cast negative influence on economic activities of the country, affecting the expected economic growth.
She said that import expenditure declined 7% in the first eight months of the current fiscal year while capital machinery imports dropping alarmingly by 18.5% and other machinery imports by 10.2%, indicating poor investment in the economy. She stressed the need for a strong social safety net programme for the industrial and agricultural sectors.
“We expect that the government will formulate a comprehensive budget, which will promote industrial inertia, increase employment opportunities and expand trade and commerce,” she added.
The NBR chairman said that the situation does not allow imposing new taxes. “But if we reduce all the taxes, how could we collect revenue for the coming years,” he told the meeting.
He also said that NBR has a plan to initiate automated audit system which would help ensure transparency, but it would take time.