Entrepreneurs and traders have demanded that the domestic plastic industry be protected by imposing additional taxes on imported finished products.
In a pre-budget discussion organised on Sunday, they also proposed reducing the import duty on raw materials that the industry requires.
The sectors manufacturing plastic products and garment accessories, packaging and paper industries, hotels, restaurants, battery exporters, supermarkets, tour operators and security and courier services presented their budget proposals.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem said, "We not only collect revenues but also ensure a growth of GDP, protect local industries and help create an environment conducive to business."
Labour-intensive and local industries should be prioritised in formulating the budget, he said, adding that the authorities would consider all the proposals before making decisions.
Protection of local industries
The Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association said the local plastic industry had been exporting products after meeting the local demand, which was why imported products should face excess duty.
Excess import duties should be applicable to products that are locally produced, said Md Jashim Uddin, president of the association.
He demanded that import duty on raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry, agriculture and food packaging be reduced. Also, tariffs on imported toys should be hiked, the same income tax policy should be deployed for all and corporate tax be brought down to 12% from 35%.
Jashim also recommended charging 0.5% tax at source.
The association also proposed that the local plastic industry be included in the list of beneficiaries of exemption from import duty, VAT and supplementary duty on imported equipment, parts and materials.
He also demanded concessional tax benefits to encourage investment and industrialisation in remote and underdeveloped areas to sustain economic growth through balanced investment.
Jashim also demanded concessional tax benefits to encourage investment and industrialisation in remote and underdeveloped areas to sustain economic growth.
Corporate and source taxes be reduced
The Bangladesh Garment Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association said the source tax should be lowered to 0.25% from 0.5% for those involved in exports directly or indirectly so they could compete with other exporting countries.
In the case of production and export of knitwear and woven garments, the income tax is 12%, whereas it is 10% when a factory has the green building certificate. But the tax rate of the accessories and packaging sectors is 32.5%,
Md Abdul Kader Khan, president of the organisation, requested the NBR to set the rate at as low as 12% and exemption from VAT on all local goods and services.
He also said incentives should be given to all those tied indirectly to exporting goods such as garment accessories and packaging sectors.
Paper Mills Association for ending import of paper under bond facility
There are 106 small and large paper producing industries in the country, which churn out two and a half times more than the demand. The industry directly and indirectly employs 1.5 million people and is connected to more than 300 sub-sectors.
Although the industry is meeting the local demand and exporting, papers imported enjoying bond facility are sold freely in the market, putting the domestic industry at risk.
In this situation, the Paper Mills Association of Bangladesh demanded that paper imports be stopped and import duty be raised to 25%.
In addition, the association suggested that the tax rate on thermal coating slurry be reduced from 25% to 10%, and the tariff on per kg of imported paper cups, plates and bowls be increased from $1.5 to $3.5 since the items are now made locally.
VAT on courier services
Fifteen percent VAT has been levied on courier and express mail services. The Courier Services Association of Bangladesh wants it to come down to 4.5%.
Although there are 400 courier service providers across the country, the association has only 130 members. Of these, 59 have licences and the remaining ones are operating without a licence.
The sector ensures employment of millions of people. The services are given at a low cost but 15% VAT is too high.
The organisation also demanded waiver of all VAT, taxes and duties on the purchase of scanners for detecting drugs.
VATs for restaurants
The Bangladesh Restaurant Owners' Association said that instead of a flat rate of 15%, VAT should be imposed at different rates based on the sale of goods.
It suggested 3% VAT for all local food restaurants with annual sales of Tk 3 crore, 8% for annual sales of Tk 6 crore, and 10% VAT for sales above Tk 7 crore.
The organisation's recommendation is to make VAT registration compulsory for all food establishments -- big and small, AC and non-AC.
VAT reduction demanded by supermarkets
Bangladesh Super Market Owners Association demanded that 5% VAT be imposed on all super stores.
Zakir Hossain, general secretary of the organization, said the super stores were facing an unequal competition with general stores.
"I am proposing that NBR collects VAT at the same rate to resolve the problem. I also demand a reduction of tax on imported equipment."
According to the Bangladesh Dress Makers Association, 10% VAT was imposed on them in this fiscal year, which was 4.5% a year ago.
Abul Kalam Azad, president of the organisation, demanded that wages of dress makers be hiked by 30% and VAT be restored at 4.5%.
Solar panel makers said the authorities should ensure participation of domestic solar panel makers in the government-funded project.