Traders postpone planned strike over VAT dispute after meeting NBR

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:50, Nov 20,2016

 
 

Babosayee Oikkya Forum, a platform of small and medium traders, on Sunday postponed their planned indefinite strike demanding restoration of package value-added tax and other issues for 10 days following a meeting with the National Board of Revenue.
After the meeting with NBR member Farid Uddin, forum leaders said that they decided to wait until December 1 before enforcing any movement as the NBR promised to consider their demands positively.
‘We will declare our next programmes if the demands are not met by the deadline,’ general secretary of the forum Abu Motaleb told New Age after the meeting.
He said that the businesses wanted to create a partnership with the revenue board to avoid any complexities in future related to VAT.
Earlier, the forum on November 2 issued the ultimatum that ended on Sunday.
The forum has been demanding restoration of package VAT, setting the VAT at lower amount for the current fiscal year, allowing turnover VAT facility for manufacturers located at Dhaka and Chittagong city corporation areas and continuation of VAT exemption for biscuit and bread, and rubber made shoes sectors.
The revenue board in the current fiscal year doubled the amount of package VAT while there will be no package VAT system under the new VAT and Supplementary Duty Act-2012 which will come into force from July, 2017.
The NBR also withdrew the VAT exemption facility for biscuit and rubber made shoes sectors in the current fiscal year.
In a situation paper presented last week to finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, the revenue board took a position against the demands of the forum, particularly on package VAT issue, saying that the system did not yield any output rather created a scope of VAT evasion.
Traders across the country annually pay only Tk 15 crore to 18 crore as package VAT while a handful number of super shops pay Tk 40 crore, according to the NBR.
Traders also change their positions frequently increasing the number of demands, officials said.
Now they are demanding to withdraw the turnover ceiling for small and medium traders, they said.
Motaleb said that they proposed the NBR for fixing the package VAT at different slabs for different sectors increasing the amount from the previous year’s rate which was Tk 14,000 for traders in Dhaka and Chittagong city corporation areas.
This year, NBR set the amount at Tk 28,000 for shops at Dhaka and Chittagong.
The NBR should also withdraw the highest turnover ceiling of Tk 80 lakh for small and medium traders, he said.
The NBR and associations will jointly fix the slabs of package VAT for traders based on their annual turnover, he added.
Under the new VAT act, there will be no VAT on traders having annual turnover up to Tk 30 lakh.
Traders with annual turnover starting from Tk 30 lakh to Tk 80 lakh will pay turnover VAT at 3 per cent and traders having annual turnover above Tk 80 lakh will pay VAT at regular rate at 15 per cent.
Babosayee Oikkya Forum president Abdus Salam, the former FBCCI vice president Helal Uddin, representatives from different associations, among others, attended the meeting.

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