Import of three types of fire safety equipments has been declared duty-free to facilitate ensuring safer working condition in the apparel factories.
The equipments are fire resistant door, sprinkler system and equipment, and emergency light with exit sign and double heads with a public interest view.
A gazette notification was issued last week, limiting the facility only for the RMG industry.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) exempted the importers from the duties considering the safety concerns of garments workers emerged particularly after the Tazreen factory fire and the Rana Plaza tragedy, officials said.
International community also put pressure on the government of Bangladesh to ensure safety of the workers.
Under the benefit, the member factories of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) will now be able to import the fire safety equipment without paying any duties – customs duty, regulatory duty and supplementary duty, said a high official at NBR.
Earlier on June 5, Finance Minister AMA Muhith proposed the duties on these items to be fully exempted in order to ensure internal security and compliance of standards by the RMG sector.
Maintenance of safety standards has become a core requirement of the global retailers after the Rana Plaza Tragedy that killed at least 1135 people, while injuring over thousands and missing more.
According to an estimate of BGMEA, around 1,200 RMG factories need to install sprinklers while 3,000 other units have to install fire doors to fulfill the requirements of the Accord and Alliance, which would cost more than Tk2,500 crore.
Earlier this month, NBR also allowed the members of BGMEA and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) for duty-free import of materials for pre-fabricated buildings, including hot-rolled iron or steel plate, flat-rolled product of iron or non-alloy steel, I sections, H sections, self-tapping screw, bolts, and aluminum insulation only for once.
Members of the associations can avail of the benefits by maintaining a set of conditions, including submission of certificates from the association, approved building layout plan from the proper authorities, a copy of the land document certified by the association, clear mention on the exact number of materials needed for the construction.