Minister opposes fresh duties on gas, power

Dhaka,  Wed,  23 August 2017
Published : 13 Jun 2017, 00:51:33
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Minister opposes fresh duties on gas, power

FE Report


A government minister opposed Monday the proposed slapping of additional duties on power and natural gas, as debate over latest tax plans continued.

"We don't want to increase power tariff now, want to keep the natural gas prices affordable," said State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid.

His remarks came during an Iftar Mahfil organised by the Forum for Energy Reporters' Bangladesh (FERB) at the National Press Club in the city.

Mr Hamid was responding to a query regarding confusion over any fresh raise in electricity tariffs after the imposition of 15 per cent value-added tax (VAT) on bills from July 01 with the enforcement of the new VAT law.

The current electricity tariff would require an increase by around 7.0 per cent in order to adjust it with the newly added VAT rate, he said.

But the Power Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) has no authority to raise power tariffs as it is entrusted to Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC), he added.

Sources said consumers fear the retail electricity prices may go up by at least 10 per cent from next month as they would have to count an extra amount to pay the additional VAT on electricity bills.

The subscribers currently pay 5.0 per cent VAT on monthly electricity bills.

But the new law provides for a uniform rate of 15 per cent VAT for all products and services coming under this mode of tax from the coming fiscal year.     

The sources said the National Board of Revenue (NBR) wanted the Power Division to include 15 per cent VAT in the retail electricity tariffs instead of showing it separately with the electricity bills.

Talking to newsmen, Mr Hamid mentioned that the NBR has already waived all sorts of import duties on the imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to keep its price affordable.

Duties on solar panel and its equipment and energy-efficient appliances also need to be slashed, the minister said.

He also underscored the need for waiving VAT and import duties on the import of furnace oil by the state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB).

FERB President Arun Karmokar and Executive Director Sadrul Hasan also spoke on the occasion.

    Azizjst@yahoo.com
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