Country’s four ICT associations including Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services on Sunday urged the government to reinstate 25 per cent import duty and 15 per cent value-added tax on similar software that are developed in Bangladesh.
BASIS along with Bangladesh Computer Samity, Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Association of Call Center and Outsourcing made the call at a press conference held at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
BASIS president Syed Alams Kabir, BCS president Subrata Sarkar, ISPAB president MA Hakim, BACCO president Wahidur Rahman Sharif and BASIS senior-vice president Farhana A Rahman spoke, among others, in the press conference.
Kabir said, ‘From our organisation we proposed the government reduce import tax on four types of software — Operating Systems, Database, Development Tools and Cyber Security software — which are not developed in Bangladesh.’
In the proposed budget for the fiscal year of 2018-2019, the government, however, reduced import tax on all types of software including the suggested four types, he said.
Such tax waiver would encourage import of software as well as affect the local software development, he said.
‘So, the government should restore import duty and 15 per cent VAT on the import of software that are developed in Bangladesh. Otherwise, the growth of the local software industry would hamper,’ he said.
Kabir urged the government to make more clarity in the definition of ‘online shopping/e-commerce’ and ‘virtual business’ with a view to eliminating the confusion that has been surfaced after the proposed budget announcement.
The BASIS president also urged the government to issue directive so that the local experts and entities get priority in implementing ICT-related projects of the government instead of appointing foreign firms.
Although the government announced tax holiday for the information technology-enabled services till 2024, 5 per cent VAT has been imposed on ITES, which is conflicting with the government’s earlier policy to support the sector, Farhana said.
‘We urge the government to withdraw the VAT on ITES,’ she said.
Subrata Sarkar said the prices of computer accessories increased by 11 per cent due to the proposed budget.
‘We urge the government not to increase the customs duty, which has been increased on stabiliser from 1 per cent to 15 per cent,’ he said.
Hakim said that the government should waive the newly imposed 22.16 per cent tax on internet modem, computer network switch, hub, server to ensure internet for all in the country with a minimum price.
He also said that the VAT on internet use was one kind of burden and also a barrier to implementation of the government vision to build Digital Bangladesh.
Wahidur said the incentive for IT and ITES export should be increased to 30 per cent from 10 per cent with a view to encouraging more talented people to work in this sector.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Tax