Country's ceramic makers sought the withdrawal of imposed supplementary duty (SD) on production and supply of all kinds of locally-made tiles and sanitary products in the proposed national budget for the fiscal year 2021-22.
Leaders of Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BCMEA) also demanded imposing higher tariff over importing foreign-made tiles to safeguard the domestic industry.
BCMEA's President Sirajul Islam Mollah and General Secretary Irfan Uddin jointly placed the demands at a post-budget press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in the capital on Thursday.
Currently, the government imposes a 15 per cent and a 10 per cent SD on local tiles and sanitaryware items respectively at the production level. In the proposed budget for 2021-22, supplementary duty of 10 per cent has been withdrawn from only a single locally- produced sanitaryware product such as Sanitary Long Pan.
BCMEA President Mr Mollah said that the newly proposed budget has failed to reflect his sector's best interest.
The manufacture of locally-produced ceramic products is hampered by the encouragement of importing foreign-made tiles. As a result, the government's industry- friendly policies will be questionable as the ceramic sector has been facing huge challenges, he argued.
The reduction in tariff on imported tiles products will push the local ceramic industry into an imbalance of competition as 15 per cent supplementary tax has been proposed to impose on domestic ceramics at the production stage and 15 per cent VAT on sale, he insisted.
By issuing circular S.R.O. No. 161-Act / 2021/158-Mushak, Value Added Tax has been imposed on goods supplied to dealers or distributors of tiles or sanitaryware products and local industry dealers have been brought under strict compliance, Sirajul said.
However, imported tiles and sanitaryware dealers have been exempted from such regulations which will impede the local industry a lot, he said.
To this effect, the BCMEA demanded to withdraw the S.R.O. No. 161 completely, the BCMEA president added.
Currently, there are 68 ceramic manufacturers in the country with local and foreign investments of about Tk 90 billion.The domestic market size of ceramic products was around Tk 350 billion in the calendar year 2019, according to the association.
The sector earned US$ 68.97 million by exporting such products in the fiscal year 2018-19, according to the Export Promotion Bureau.
The manufacturers ship their products to different countries including the UK, USA and Canada as well as those in Europe and Latin America.BCMEA's Senior Vice President Moynul Islam, directors Rasheed Mymunul Islam, Azizul Hakim Sumon, and Ruslan Nasir, among others, were present at the event.
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