Members of Bangladesh Bidi Industrial Owners' Association have demanded the removal of tax of around 25 per cent on filter bidi prior to finalising the national budget on June 29. At a post-budget press conference at the National Press Club on June 11, Vice-president of the association and Managing Director of Gafur Bidi Factory Nader Hossain said that the imposition of the tax is possibly due to the lobbying of a certain multinational company. This tax needs to be removed before the budget is finalized, he demanded.
Hossain said that in the proposed budget, the price of bidi has increased from Tk 12 to Tk 15. But in the meeting with the Bidi Owners Association on May 20, the Finance Minister had assured that he will not increase the tax on bidi.
Still, in the fiscal year 2018-2019, the price of one thousand bidi was increased to Tk 420 from Tk 336, which is an increase of tariff on bidi by 25 per cent, said Hossain.
He dreaded that the imposition of this tax is likely to cause havoc on the domestic Bidi industry. Thousands of workers engaged in the industry may become unemployed.
The leaders of the association also placed a four-point demand to the government at the conference, including removal of tariff, a special slab for multinational companies and declaring Bidi as a cottage industry
Enamul Haq Mone
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