Furniture and steel exporters have demanded a duty-free import facility for raw materials similar to the bonded warehouse facility enjoyed by some other sectors in order to be competitive in the international market.
At a pre-budget discussion organised by the National Board of Revenue on Thursday, the exporters said a facility allowing imports of raw materials against bank guarantees equal to the duty they are supposed to pay would be satisfactory, even if the authorities concerned do not provide them a full bonded warehouse facility.
NBR member Masud Sadiq, who presided over the discussion, expressed a positive attitude towards the exporters' demand and requested the Customs Bond Commissionerate to consider it.
Currently, some export sectors, including readymade garments, can import raw materials and accessories without paying any duty under the bonded warehouse facility, but importers without a bonded warehouse license have to pay full duties and taxes.
If products made with those raw materials are exported, the traders can get back the money paid as duty from NBR's Duty Exemption and Drawback Office (Dedo), but many are not able to avail this facility as the process is time-consuming and costly.
For this reason, various sectors have been calling for a duty-free import facility for raw materials similar to the bonded warehouse facility. The Ministry of Commerce has also recommended NBR in this regard, said Saifur Rahman, vice president of Bangladesh Stainless Steel Pipe Manufacturers Association.
At the programme, Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturer and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association said they enjoy the bonded warehouse facility, but they do not get the same benefits like the garments sector does. The two organisations have called for equal benefits and reduction of VAT and taxes in different sectors.
Besides, Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association has recommended abolition of advance income tax.
Taking part in another discussion on Thursday, Bangladesh Jeweller's Association has proposed to reduce the duty on gold imports from Tk2,000 to Tk1,000 per bhari and to reduce the VAT on local gold sales from the 5% to 2%.
The Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association has come up with a number of proposals on tariffs, VAT and income tax to protect the relatively small entrepreneurs in the sector instead of the big businesses.
About 20 organisations presented various proposals in Thursday's discussion, which was chaired by NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem.
Referring to the war situation between Russia and Ukraine, the NBR chairman said there is no reason to raise prices in the country's market because of it, but some groups try to take advantage of such situations.