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Slash import duty on paper: Traders

FE Report | June 23, 2019 00:00:00

Paper merchants, importers and press owners have urged the government to slash import duty on papers and paperboard in the proposed budget to 5.0 per cent from the existing 25 per cent to ensure smooth supply of papers to help keeping the business afloat.

They called upon the government to check misuse of bonded warehouse facility to encourage legal imports and help keep the market stable in the country.

For doing so, the government should impose 5.0 per cent duty on imported paper and continue the bonded warehouse facility for exporters, they suggested.

Half a dozen associations related to paper import, marketing, printing and packaging businesses made the call at a post-budget press conference organised by them at Economic Reporters' Forum (ERF) in the city on Saturday.

They are: Bangladesh Paper Importers Association (BPIA), Bangladesh Paper Merchants Association (BPMA), Bangladesh Textbook Printing and Marketing Association (BTPMA), Chittagong Papers and Cellophane Business Group (CPCBG), Printing Industries Association of Bangladesh (PIAB) and Metropolitan Press Owners Association (MPOA).

According to the paper importers, the government is being deprived of Tk 20 billion annually due to the misuse of existing bonded warehouse facilities on imported paper and paperboard.

BPIA President Shafiqul Islam Bharosa, PIAB Chairman Shahid Serbeabat, General Secretary Md Zahurul Islam, and President of Bangladesh Textbook Printing and Marketing Association Tofayal Khan were present, among others and spoke.

Shahid Serneabat read out a written statement.

He called upon the government to bring down the import duty to 5.0 per cent from 25 per cent to help the local industry thrive.

He alleged that a group of unscrupulous paper importers was misusing bonded warehouse facility.

"That's why the government is losing a large amount of revenue every year which is harming greatly the honest and genuine traders and entrepreneurs in this sector," he mentioned.

Less than 2,000 tonnes of raw materials of paper are imported legally each year but the local demand is 0.5 million tonnes (5,00,000 tonnes), he noted.

Besides, the speakers at the press conference pointed out that the National Board of Revenue (NBR) earned a good amount of revenue from the plastic industry as it imposed 5.0 per cent import duty on plastic raw materials to stop the abuse of bonded warehouse facilities.

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