The government has offered full exemption from Advanced Taxes for importing ocean vessels above 5,000 deadweight tonnes to boost seaborne trade.
The National Board of Revenue issued the order signed by its Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan on Wednesday, exempting importers from paying 5 percent Advanced Tax in several sectors, including the import of ocean vessels.
Bangladeshi vessels are losing competition to foreign ones and are being deprived of the opportunity to earn a large amount of foreign currency. Due to a lack of policy support, ocean vessels imported by Bangladeshi companies decreased over the past few years.
To tackle the situation, the government in 2018 exempted 15% Value Added Tax on the import of reconditioned ocean vessels.
The government then took an initiative to increase the number of ocean vessels to strengthen the number of national flag carrying ships.
To this effect, the government placed the Bangladesh Flag Vessels (Protection) Bill, 2019 in the parliament on September 11 to give the industry more legal protection.
The proposed law incorporates a provision that at least 50 percent foreign trade of local goods must be carried by Bangladeshi ocean vessels. But the industry faced another crisis after 5% advanced tax was imposed on all product imports in the current fiscal year.
Speaking with The Business Standard, Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan of the National Board of Revenue said, "After the current budget, the ocean vessel industry suffered a new crisis and applied to the National Board of Revenue to resolve the matter."
"We want to promote the private sector. So, the revenue board decided to waive the Advanced Tax on several such sectors to mitigate its impact."
Other sectors that received the Advance Tax exemption are raw materials and machinery for solar panels, artificial staple fibre, polyester yarn and needle detectors imported by cotton manufacturing company of the Bangladesh Textile Board.
Importers of fish, cattle and poultry feed ingredients, ranchers, fish farmers and companies involved in the animal health sector listed under the Department of Livestock Services will get the same facility.
The revenue board also withdrew the Advanced Tax on vehicle imports authorised by the parliament.
In July this year, the National Board of Revenue offered the exemption on a number of import sectors such as the procurement process of the government, various autonomous entities, the United Nations, individuals with special privileges, embassies, relief materials, development projects and life-saving drugs.