Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu on Thursday asked the government to withdraw the 15 percent VAT on the newspaper industry as proposed in the 2017-18 budget.
Taking part at a discussion on the proposed budget for 2017-18 fiscal year, Inu, also the president of Jatiya Samajtantrk Dal, said 15 percent VAT on newspaper industry should be revoked in a bid to save the flourishing newspaper industry.
“Otherwise it [newspaper industry] will be affected,” Inu, also a top leader in the Awami League-led 14-party alliance,” he opined.
“Imposing 15 percent VAT on newspaper industry will hinder the development of media, which has been achieved over the last few years. I’d like to request the Prime Minister and the finance minister to withdraw the proposed VAT from the newspaper industry,” he added.
The information minister, in a written answer, told the parliament that the present government has been working earnestly to ensure the freedom of press and free flow of information.
"The government believes in freedom and welfare of media and free flow of information," he said in reply to lawmakers’ queries.
Saying that the present government is always media-friendly and ensuring freedom of the press, freedom of expression as enshrined in the Article 39 of the constitution, Inu said the government has given registration to around 700 newspapers during the last seven years and also given approval to 31 satellite channels, 24 FM radio stations and 32 community radios.