The government, as part of its multifarious initiatives to tackle the prevailing dollar crisis by discouraging imports, has raised the regulatory duty on the import of 130 products under fruits, flowers, furniture and cosmetics categories by 20%.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued a statutory regulatory order (SRO) in this regard on Monday night.
NBR on Tuesday (24 May) issued a press release stating that the 20% increase on regulatory duty was applicable on only to fruits, cosmetics, flowers and furniture.
This move will, however, increase the prices of more than 100 products under these three categories as traders will have to pay extra duty to import them.
The finance minister is going to present the national budget proposal for fiscal 2022-23 in parliament on 9 June. Usually, the imposition of additional tariffs on any product is decided by the government in the budget. But this time the government has taken this decision 15 days before the budget.
At present, the existing import duty on various fruits ranges from 58% to 85%, of which 3% is regulatory duty.
Besides, various types of cosmetics items are also subjected to duty ranging from 104% to 127%. The import duty on flowers is 58%.
Bangladesh mainly imports different types of oranges, apples, grapes, dates, and malta (red orange). Apart from this, new varieties of fruits are being imported in recent years.
Tax expert Snehasish Barua, who is also a partner of a chartered accountant firm Snehasish Mahmud and Company, told TBS, "The government seems to have taken this step to discourage imports of these products in a bid to keep the dollar market stable."
According to the Horticulture Wing and Plant Quarantine Centre of the Department of Agricultural Extension, more than two lakh tonnes of apples, 1.5-2 lakh tonnes of oranges, and more than 50,000 tonnes of grapes are imported every year. However, there was no consistency in malta imports.
The size of the skincare products market in Bangladesh was $1.16 billion in 2020, and is expected to garner $2.12 billion by 2027, registering a compound annual growth rate of 8.1% from 2021 to 2027.
According to the Bangladesh Cosmetics and Toiletries Importers Association, 80% of cosmetics items are produced in the country.