The government is planning to exempt duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) on dengue screening reagents to facilitate the importing and distribution.
National Board of Revenue (NBR) is likely to issue a circular soon upon the request of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and drug importers.
However, the exemption will be temporary, hinted NBR officials.
“We have received a proposal. As it’s an issue of public concern and has humanitarian ground, we are positive about temporary exemption,” NBR member Golam Kibria told The Business Standard.
Currently the government charge 32 percent tariff on reagent import — 12 percent as custom duty, 15 percent as VAT and 5 percent as advance tax. As the queues of people coming to medical facilities for dengue screening get longer, chemical reagent stocks for testing the fever saw a crunch.
International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) has stopped testing dengue infection even in the capital since Tuesday for their reagent shortage. Meantime, some private hospitals are reportedly overcharging the patients cashing the reagent crunch though the government has fixed the detection charges.
In the face of this, Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) director general wrote to the NBR recommending exemption for reagents, kits and kit producing raw materials till November 30.
Moreover, Diagnostics Reagent and Equipment Traders Association of Bangladesh also requested the NBR separately.
“We are running low. There is no alterative of duty exemption if the government wants to maintain the rates for dengue tests,” president of the association Aminur Rahman Khan told The Business Standard.
According to the association, the reagent and equipment import comparatively takes a bit long owing to complicated processes. For that, they demanded the duty exemption for upcoming three months.