National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman Md. Nojibur Rahman assured transport operators Wednesday of providing necessary fiscal support if they are able to restore discipline in the sector.
"The transport sector is very crucial for the country's overall economic activities. The sector will get required support from the government on condition of ensuring discipline," he said.
He was responding to a proposal for reducing tax on imported tyres used for public transports at a pre-budget meeting with various trade associations at the NBR headquarters in the capital.
Business leaders of sectors like automobiles, transports, information communication and technology (ICT), telecommunications and electronics took part at the meeting, aimed at getting inputs to prepare the budget proposal for the fiscal year 2017-18.
All the representatives of the trade associations sought tax exemptions for their respective sectors for, what they argued, the sake of the sectors' growth they represent.
In response, the NBR chairman said the new Value Added Tax (VAT) law will ease the tax-related complexities because the taxpayers will receive many facilities virtually.
"I am hopeful that the new law will help ensure the level playing field for businesses," he said.
General secretary of Dhaka Road Transport Owners Association Khandaker Enayet Ullah urged the NBR to reduce tariff value of radial tyre at US$2.5 from existing $3.5 considering the need for lowering the cost for public transportation.
He said the sector was not getting expected facilities from the government though it has already been declared as an industry.
Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) president Mustafa Jabbar requested the revenue authorities to lower the tax rates on accessories and components to help grow local ICT product manufacturers.
"The locally manufactured IT products' prices will be 10 times higher compared to the imported ones due to the unsuitable tax policy," he said.
The country needs to focus now on locally manufactured equipment to reduce the dependence on imported ones and achieve the government's goal to build digital Bangladesh.
Representatives of Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) proposed to exempt the VAT from computer hardware and accessories to accelerate the government's initiative to become digital Bangladesh.
They also urged letting off the duty on computer monitors of any size since the global manufacturers stopped producing smaller units. Presently, the monitors up to 22-inch are duty free.
General secretary of Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association (BMPIA) Rezwanul Hoque requested to curtail the duty on mobile phone import to 4.0 per cent from existing 5.0 per cent.
"Smartphone is becoming essential for accessing internet and other virtual services in the country, but the penetration rate is still low," he said, emphasising the need for exempting the VAT on the devices.
ICX operators, air-conditioner and refrigerators assemblers, electronic goods merchants, ship builders, ship breakers, water transport owners also submitted their proposals to the NBR in the meeting.
The programme was also attended by NBR members Barrister Jahangir Hossain (VAT Policy), Md Lutfor Rahman and Parvez Iqbal (Income Tax Policy), among others.