The country’s e-commerce business would lose its competitiveness due to the imposition of 7.5 per cent value-added tax, said leaders of Bangladesh Association of Software & Information Services on Wednesday.
They made the observation at a discussion on ‘Digital Commerce’ held at the BASIS auditorium in Dhaka, urging the government to keep online business VAT-free for at least next five years.
Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal imposed the VAT in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year (2019-20). The budget was placed before parliament on June 13.
BASIS president Syed Almas Kabir and senior vice-president Farhana A Rahman, and E-commerce Association of Bangladesh (E-CAB) general secretary Md Abdul Wahed Tomal spoke, among others, at the discussion.
Mentioning that the country’s digital commerce sector was at the growing stage, Almas said that the imposition of VAT on e-commerce business would create obstacle to the growth of the sector.
He also requested the government to keep the business VAT-free for at least next five years.
Farhana said, ‘E-commerce is a growing sector and imposition of VAT will slow down the pace of growth of the sector.’
She urged the National Board of Revenue to revise its decision and to keep the business VAT-free.
Shopping through e-commerce sites was VAT-free in the outgoing fiscal year.
BASIS digital commerce standing committee chairman Syed Mohammad Kamal said that people had just started becoming comfortable with the e-commerce.
Slapping 7.5 per cent VAT at this stage would ultimately demoralise people to buy online, he said.
BASIS director Didarul Alam said e-commerce business would lose its competitive edge because of the newly imposed tax.
BASIS co-chairpersons Ashikul Alam Khan and Zeeshan Kingshuk Huq, representatives from bkash, Rocket, Uber, Pathao, Ipay System, ShurjoMukhi Limited, PriyoShop.com, sindabad.com, AjkerDeal.com, bagdoom.com, Othoba.com, Chaldal.com, Hungrynaki.com, iferi.com, Gemsclip.com, Pickaboo.com, Rokomari.com, Property Bazaar Limited, Deligram, Sheba xyz, Evaly and e-Courier were present at the discussion.
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