The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has, in principal, agreed to finalise the tariff value on the imported refrigerators with a little hike on the fridges imported from Thailand as the local refrigerator manufacturers and assemblers have long been demanding the tariff rate hike for encouraging domestic business.
The NBR has decided to fix the tariff value for the two-door refrigerators at minimum US$0.75 per litre while it would be US$1.30 for side by side, three-door and display panel refrigerators, which are imported from Thailand. Currently, the tariff rates of those categories are US$0.75 and US$ 1.20 respectively.
The decision was made by NBR at a meeting with both the importers and Bangladesh Refrigerator Manufacturers Association (BRMA) held yesterday at the conference room of the NBR headquarters in Shegunbagicha in the capital. NBR member (customs) Farid Uddin presided over the meeting.
As per the decision, the tariff rates for both the two-door refrigerators and the side by side, three-door and display panel refrigerators imported from China will remain unchanged at US$0.75 and US$1.20 respectively.
Urging the government to protect the local manufacturers, BRMA secretary general Lokman Hossain Akash noted that the country’s four refrigerator manufacturing companies had the capacity to produce 20 lakh refrigerators annually against the domestic demand of 9 lakh.
The price of the imported products is much higher than the actual prices that led to the tax evasion cases, said the local manufacturers.
Bangladesh Electronic Merchants Association chairman M Sanaullah Shahid, however, ruled out the tax evasion issue as saying, “Although it has long been alleged by the local importers, the allegation is not right at all.”
“They (domestic manufacturers) had earlier demanded tariff rate hike in imported refrigerators on the ground that the price of imported products is much higher than the actual prices, but we are paying 108% import duties while local manufacturers are paying only 14%,” Shahid, also the chairman at Electra International Ltd, importer of Samsung products, told the Dhaka Tribune.
Although there had been a long debate on this issue, the local manufacturers have finally proposed the tariff rate with minimal changes and the board has finalised it immediately, he added.
He also said the new tariff rate would only have minimum affects to the prices of the luxury refrigerators as less than 1% of the consumers uses side by side or three door fridges.
According to his estimate, around 4lakh refrigerators are imported annually while only 500 pieces of luxurious refrigerators are sold annually.