National Board of Revenue has extended duty benefit along with relaxing conditions for export-oriented readymade garment industries in import of fire safety equipment.
Customs wing of the revenue board on March 11 issued a statutory regulatory order amending the previous SRO and relaxing restriction on the number of imports of the equipment.
According to the amended SRO, apparel makers will enjoy duty benefits as many times as required in import of each item.
Previously, investors could avail the benefit only for once in import of an item.
They needed to pay duty and taxes ranging from 31.07 per cent to 104.79 per cent in import of an item for the second time.
The NBR through the latest SRO, signed by NBR chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, also includes some new equipment including electric resistance welded pipe and fittings of iron and steel, and auto sprinkler system on the waiver list.
The revenue board in June 2017 waived all duties and value-added taxes, except five per cent customs duty, in import of fire safety materials and equipment for the sector following conditions of international buyers for upgrading factory safety.
Customs officials said that the latest decision was made in line with the applications of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association seeking withdrawal of the condition related to the number of imports and inclusion of new items on the list.
Field level customs offices also recommended allowing the benefit to entrepreneurs, they said.
Investors might need the same fire safety equipment for a second or third time if they would renovate or expand existing factory or establish new units, said a high official of the NBR.
Most of the export-oriented factories have been going through remediation activities as per standard set by international buyers and retails platforms — Accord and Alliance, he said.
Many others are also conducting BMRE (balancing, modernisation, rehabilitation and expansion) activities to increase the productivity of their factories, he added.
In this context, the NBR relaxed the condition being convinced about the rationality of the demand of the BGMEA and BKMEA, he said.
Importers, however, will not be allowed to avail the benefit for items which are not included in the layout plan of fire fighting system, according to the SRO.
The other conditions set out in the original SRO will, however, remain in effect for obtaining the benefit.
According to the original SRO, the importer must be registered with the VAT wing of the NBR.
He or she must also submit to the customs authority certificates of international inspection body or registered engineering firms which prepared the layout plan, and trade association with which the importer has membership on the required items and the quantity of the items for getting the duty waiver.
The importer will also not be allowed to use the imported items for any other purpose, except fire fighting in his or her factory.
He or she will also have to submit a certificate from the relevant customs or VAT office after installation of the equipment in the factory.