Call for review of source tax on e-commerce

Staff Correspondent

9 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Commerce ministry will request finance ministry to review the budget proposal of source tax on e-commerce sector, a high official said.

“The country’s e-commerce sector has achieved significant growth in recent time, especially during the pandemic. The sector needs a proper policy and better solution to its problems,” said Abdur Rahim Khan, joint secretary at the commerce ministry at a webinar Tuesday.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal hinted about source tax in budget speech proposing to define the e-commerce platform as a source tax deducting authority. However, he didn’t mention any figure in this regards.

On backdrop of the proposal, Business Promotion Council (BPC), a wing at the Ministry of Commerce, and e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) jointly organized the post-budget webinar.

Finance secretary Mohammad Abdul Haque, e-CAB president Shomi Kaiser, vice president Sahab Uddin Shipon and CEO GM Kamrul Hassan also joined the session.

Online food delivery company, Foodpanda secretary Aurangazeb Hossen made the keynote presentation.

Abdur Rahim Khan, also coordinator of the BPC, joined the event as the chief guest while joint secretary at finance ministry Sirajun Nur Chowdhury attended as special guest.

“The e-commerce sector is mostly driven by the local entrepreneurs. There are opportunities to bring good governance in the sector by formulating a guideline,” said Abdur Rahim Khan, assuring the sector of all-out cooperation from the commerce ministry.

“From our side, we (commerce ministry) are always ready to cooperate with the private sector.”

He expressed hopes that the challenges in the e-commerce sector will be addressed through formulating a proper guideline on doing business on digital platforms.

The government is developing a standard operating procedure (SOP) guideline for e-commerce companies to improve service quality as the sector has experienced significant growth during the pandemic situation.

Finance ministry’s joint secretary Sirajun Nur Chowdhury said the government prepares the budget in a “cautious mode through analyzing the benefits of the respective sectors.”

“The problem of (source tax) in the e-commerce sector can be resolved through placing proposals by the sector to the finance ministry,” he assured.

e-CAB president Shomi Kaiser said most of the local e-commerce entrepreneurs were yet to experience profits and so “the new source tax might create negative impacts on investment in this emerging sector.”