Tea Association seeks duty cut on irrigation unit import

Bangladesh Tea Association (BTA) on Tuesday demanded a cut in import duty on some irrigation units amid the scarcity of rain in major tea gardens.

It also demanded that the government reduce income taxes to 10 per cent for both registered public companies and non-registered public/private companies from existing 25-35 percent respectively.

The demands came at a virtual meeting between the National Board of Revenue and four business associations-SME Foundation, Bangladesh Agricultural Machinery Merchants Association (BAMMA), Bangladesh Electrical Motor Pump Importers Association (BEMPIA) and BTA ahead of the upcoming national budget for FY 2021-22.

NBR chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem presided over the meeting.

BTA chairman M Shah Alam recommended continuing the existing import duty on black tea as 89.32 per cent.

Stressing the need for keeping minimum tariff value of tea as US$2.5 a kilogram, he also recommended exemption from VAT on their 'sample tea' for the betterment of the sector.

Local tea gardens were witnessing rainless weeks, causing a decline in production this year after a good yield last year. "So, tea gardens need supplementary irrigation," he added.

For separating HDPE pipe from the agricultural sprinkler irrigation system and equipment (HS, the BTA chairman said, total import taxes are now 104.79 per cent for importing necessary irrigation units.

The BTA also called for fixing 1.0 per cent import duty both on the sprinkler irrigation system, HDPE pipe and aluminium pipe, considering all of them as capital machinery.

SME Foundation advisor Lutfar Rahman demanded ensuring easy process and criterion for registration of small and cottage industries.

He also sought tax cut on profits of agricultural machinery manufacturers to 20 per cent from existing 32.5 per cent.

BEMPIA joint secretary Shahidul Islam called for VAT exemption on annual sale of Tk 5.0 million.

The NBR chairman said local tea gardens must have to raise their yields compared to that of the neighbouring countries to be competitive in the market.

He assured the four associations that NBR would discuss these issues and accept the logical ones.

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