Newspaper Owners’ Association of Bangladesh has demanded of the government for brining the business of internet companies like Facebook and Google under tax net and the country’s legal framework.
In a letter to finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, NOAB on November 25 said that the companies had been doing business in various manner in Bangladesh without complying with the country’s existing laws, regulations, trade policy and procedures.
NOAB also sent the copy of the letter to information minister, state minister for ICT, the National Board of Revenue chairman, Bangladesh Bank governor and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman.
The companies are earning huge amount of money from digital advertisement but not paying taxes to the government, said the letter signed by NOAB president Matiur Rahman, also the editor of Bangla daily Prothom Alo.
It is a pre-condition of complying with the local laws and regulations for doing business in any country, it said.
The companies are also not paying any attention to the practices of good governance in doing business, like not harming local industries and paying taxes to the government, it said.
The government cannot bring the companies under laws as the companies, particularly Facebook and Google, do not have any office in the country, it added.
Local advertisers have to pay bills through credit card directly to the companies draining huge amount of foreign currencies from the country and depriving the government of applicable taxes.
On the other hand, local advertisers and publishers pay the applicable taxes on advertisement bills to the government.
The global internet giants also charge far less for an advertisement than the traditional mass media.
It is a big threat to the traditional mass media including newspapers, television and radio, and booming online media as people are now showing more interest to advertise with the internet based companies due to lower cost.
Facebook and Google are also not keeping any contribution to the online media and employment generation in the country though they are making huge income from the country, it said.
In this context, it is high time to take the issue very seriously and bring the companies under tax net and the country’s laws and regulations. Otherwise, they will go out of control, NOAB said.
The association will assist the government in this connection, it said.
Officials of the revenue board said that they had received the letter and would take necessary steps as per directives of the finance minister and NBR high-ups.
The issue will also require consultation with other agencies of the government like Bangladesh Bank, BTRC and information ministry, they said.
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