The cabinet has approved in-principle a draft tariff policy aiming to expand the market and trade of Bangladeshi products in the international arena.
The proposal in this regard was approved in the cabinet meeting – chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina – held yesterday at the Prime Minister's Office.
After the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Mahbub Hossain told reporters at the secretariat, "The draft of the National Tariff Policy 2023 has been approved. There was no specific policy regarding the consultation process at the Tariff Commission.
The government aims to adopt a policy that supports the country's industrialisation and ensures that Bangladeshi products can compete in the international trade or market. A road map of tariff policy has been prepared keeping these issues in mind. It has been done for the first time in Bangladesh, he said.
Asked about the need for tariff policy, he said, "We have graduated from the list of the least developed countries. The facilities we currently get in international trade will gradually decrease. Then we will have to compete with others directly.
"Some additions to the existing tariff structure are needed to retain and expand the market in this situation. A set of recommendations on assisting traders in accessing international markets has been developed. Based on that, the duty and tax structure will be changed step by step."
The cabinet secretary said the tariff policy mainly focuses on trade liberalisation, rationalisation of tariff structure, capacity building of domestic industry, export expansion, diversification, investment promotion, employment generation and sustainable economy.
He said there are 17 measures in the tariff policy. A monitoring and audit committee headed by the commerce minister has been formed to implement it. The 16-member committee including a secretary, a member of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers and Commerce and Industry, and chairman of the Tariff Commission will do the monitoring work.
According to the draft policy, the tariff imposed at the import and export level will be considered as the international trade tariff for Bangladesh. In order to simplify the customs structure and eliminate unnecessary complications, greater transparency is needed in the customs system to keep the customs duties on similar products equal. Tariffs imposed at the import level should be reduced step by step to a reasonable level in the interest of consumer welfare.
Moreover, tariff exemptions should be avoided. In order to increase the competitiveness and capacity of the domestic industry, the tariff protection rate should be reduced gradually. Protection may be granted to new product manufacturers based on the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission.
Sylhet Medical Uni to be renamed
The name of Sylhet Medical University will be changed to "Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnessa Mujib Medical University, Sylhet", said Cabinet Secretary Md Mahbub Hossain.
Cabinet has approved in-principle the draft of the Sylhet Medical University (Amendment) Act, 2023. The medical university was established in Sylhet according to the law of 2018.
By amending the act, the words chancellor, vice-chancellor, treasurer posts of the university will be replaced by acharya, upacharya or upa-upacharya, and khoadhakhya respectively.
The cabinet secretary said the issue of auditing the expenditure of the university by the auditor general is also included in the law amendment proposal.