The government is going to hike the customs duty on computer imports by 2.5 times, keeping the spare parts out of the tax net to promote local manufacturing and assembling of devices.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has suggested the provision of a 30 per cent import duty on computers in the upcoming fiscal year from the existing 12 per cent.Industry insiders said that a rise in import duty may create a negative impact in the computer business, which has been badly affected by the corona pandemic and the market is yet to ready for manufacturing computers locally.
Bangladesh Computer Samity, the trade body for the computer hardware segment, has already requested the government to review the tax structure to help flourish the device market in the line with the Digital Bangladesh vision.
BSC President Shahid Ul Munir said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina withdrew customs duty on computer import during her 1996 tenure and the country has been rapidly moving forward to the Digital Bangladesh vision over the last one decade.
“Most of the computer markets remained closed during the general holidays amid corona pandemic. Besides, the consumers of computers are mostly from middle-class families. At this point, the government should reconsider the computer import duty. Also, we are not ready for local assembling at this point,” Shahid Ul Munir told the Daily Sun.
Toggi Services, a computer venture of Bashundhara Group, also expressed concern over a potential hike in the import duty of computers as the market is struggling to survive amid the corona pandemic.
AS Md Mostofa Monower Sagor, Head of Operations of Toggi Services, said the 30 per cent duty on computer import may hamper the growth of the market at a time when the use of digital devices is on the rise.“We think the government wants to promote local assembling. The demand for computer has been increased significantly as people have become habituated to video conference and students are restoring to distance learning. However, most of the companies except one are not ready to set up local plants. We tried to communicate with China for local assembling. However, all attempts have failed due to a surge in Covid-19 infection rate,” Monowar Ahmed Sagor told the Daily Sun.
He also suggested reviewing the tax structure to maintain the existing momentum in digitization and at a time when the global manufacturers are struggling with the shortage of raw materials like silicon chips.Some 500,000 units of computer and portable computers (laptop) are sold annually in Bangladesh, according to BCS data.