Local manufactures seek duty hike paper imports
Peoples Time Desk
Paper manufacturers have urged the government to hike import duty on finished paper products and scrap the proposal for tax rebate on the import of finsihed paper to safeguard the local industry.
Bangladesh Paper Mills Association (BPMA) recently wrote to Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, seeking their intervention to discourage import and curb the misuse of warehouse facilities.
The BPMA demanded reduction of tax on importing chemicals used in local industries and withdrawal of 25 percent custom duty on importing micro-capsule.
Local factories produce 1.6 million tonnes of export-oriented papers against the domestic market demand for 900,000 tonnes, according to a statement of BPMA.
Some 31 banks have financed around Tk 1.12 billion in 106 paper mills so far. The investment is now at risk as the local entrepreneurs are facing discriminating policy.
BPMA Secretary General Mustafa Kamal Mohiuddin said local companies export paper products to 40 countries after meeting the domestic demand.
“As the local mills produce export-oriented paper, the privilege being provided to the imported items will affect the local industries,” he said.
The paper industries have created 1.5 million direct employments while 6 million people depend to the sector indirectly.
BPMA business development and export standing committee chairman Mustafizur Rahman said the paper industry is a self-sufficient sector and maintains all the compliance standards.
“When the government is discouraging import due to scarcity of dollar, the proposal of tax rebate for finished paper import will affect the paper industry. The authorities should hike duty on finished paper to save local industries,” he said.
The sector insider claimed the government is losing a huge amount of revenue due to abuse of bonded warehouse facilities by a section of paper importers.
Former NBR Chairman Abdul Mazid said the government is deprived of a huge amount of revenue as a section of business sell imported paper in the open market abusing the bonded warehouse facilities.
“If the government allows tax rebate for importers, the local industries will face a major setback,” he said.
Bangladeshi companies have invested Tk 700 billion in the growing industries while some 79 factories among 106 were shut down due to discriminatory policy towards the local industries.