Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institution has formed a committee to finalise the proposed hike in fees for product certification.
The country’s standardisation body has recently formed the committee, headed by an additional secretary of industries ministry and consisted of representatives from public and private sectors, for reviewing and finalising the recommendations of a previous committee on upward revision of the existing fees.
Earlier in August last year BSTI proposed increasing fees for the issuance of certification marks on quality of locally produced and imported products by almost 200 per cent from existing rates.
A committee of industries ministry on review of the BSTI proposal also recommended a significant hike in the fees, officials said.
But trade bodies have been opposing the proposed rate of increase considering its impact on consumers.
They also advised the ministry to find out alternatives like increasing the number of mandatory products for CM certificates and taking grants from the government, to boost BSTI revenue, officials said.
In this situation, the ministry in the latest BSTI Council meeting presided over by industries minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun decided to review the report of the first committee.
The new committee will give a ‘pragmatic and rational recommendation’, according to the decision of the council.
BSTI sought nominations from Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection and Bangladesh Food Safety Authority for the committee.
Industries ministry will soon issue a gazette notification after getting nominations from the entities, a senior official of BSTI told New Age.
The committee will get one month after issuance of the gazette notification for finalising its recommendation, he said.
BSTI determines the national standards for locally produced and imported products and issues certification marks after examining the quality of the products.
Traders pay fees at various rates for using the certification marks (CM) on the label of products.
Currently, use of certification marks of BSTI is mandatory for 181 types of products.
Officials said that they took the move to revise the fees upward to meet the increasing operational costs for additional manpower and new offices.
The BSTI Council in 1997 set the CM fees at 0.07 per cent of annual production value with minimum Tk 1,250 and the highest Tk 10 lakh for fruit-based products and 0.10 per cent with minimum Tk 1,875 and maximum Tk 15 lakh for other products like milk, drinks, spices, electrical and electronic and engineering products.
BSTI proposed to raise the marking fee to 0.15 per cent for all products except for fruit-based ones from existing 0.10 per cent.
The institution proposed to raise the highest fee to Tk 44,48,250 for annual value above Tk 400 crore for the products from the existing Tk 15 lakh for value above Tk 150 crore.
The BSTI has also proposed to increase the fees for fruit-based products.
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