The government has allowed duty benefits on the import of personal protective equipment and its raw materials for local manufacturing by additional six months.
On January 07, the finance ministry issued a circular in this regard while the National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued a statutory regulatory order extending the benefits until June 30 this year. The terms of the benefits ended on December 31 last.
The order came after the demand from garment exporters.
Importers and manufacturers will enjoy the benefits, including exemption from the payment of customs duty, regulatory duty, supplementary duty, value-added tax, advance tax and advance income tax on the imports of 17 types of products.
On December 28, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Dr Rubana Huq, in a letter to NBR, requested extending the duty benefits until the Covid-19 vaccine is available.
The whole world, including Bangladesh is passing tough times, she said, adding that though the first phase of coronavirus was controlled to some extent, the second wave has halted the world abruptly.
"Bangladesh is still not out of danger of the virus and any untoward or large safety hazard might take place due to little incautiousness," she noted.
The NBR first offered the duty waiver of the import of finished products after the first coronavirus case was reported in the country in March last, which was later extended.
The products that will enjoy the extended duty benefits included COVID-19 test kits based on immunological reactions, disinfectants in bulk, COVID-19 test kits based on polymerase chain reaction nucleic acid tests, protective garments made from plastic sheeting, plastic face shields, N95 masks, KN95 masks, protective spectacles and goggles, other breathing appliance, gas masks and COVID 19 diagnostic test instruments and apparatus.
The raw materials are isopropyl alcohol, felt of textile materials, different types of non-woven man-made filaments and other fabrics impregnated with polyvinyl chloride, ear bands for masks and nose protector clip masks, according to officials.
The 'Mapped in Bangladesh', a digital mapping technology, found a total of 143 factories have been producing face masks and/or PPEs along with their regular products while 69 factories were producing PPEs for the global market and 66 factories for the domestic market.
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