Mobile phone operators have iterated their budget proposals as none of their demands, incluidng reduction of turnover and corporate taxes, were addressed in the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2021-2022.
The operators came up with information at an online post-budget press briefing organised by the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh on Tuesday.
In a presentation on the taxation, AMTOB secretary general SM Farhad said that the government would earn around Tk 16,000 crore in taxes in the year 2026 from the telecom sector if the prevailing tax policy remains unchanged whereas the government’s earnings from the telecom sector would have been around Tk 18,000 crore in the same year if the telecom operators’ proposals were acknowledged.
The telecom operators had proposed that the government reduce the minimum turnover tax and corporate tax rate, elimination of SIM tax and rationalisation of consumer taxes including supplementary duty and surcharge, among others.
If the existing taxes were kept unchanged, the telecom operators would be deprived of earning additional Tk 4,000 crore in revenue in the year 2026, he said.
Unless congenial taxation regime is ensured, sustainability of the telecom operators would be under threat as the operators would not be able to reap benefits out of the investments they have made to bring people under their network, Farhad said.
Considering the 54 per cent unique mobile and 30 per cent internet users in the country, Farhad said that there is a scope for bringing the unconnected people under the mobile network if the taxation regime is rationalised based on the proposals made by the telecom operators.
Robi Axiata chief corporate and regulatory officer Mohammed Shahedul Alam said that the revenue of the government as well as the telecom operators would increase if the government reconsiders telecom operators’ proposals.
Grameenphone head of public and regulatory affairs Hossain Sadat said, ‘The telecom sector has been declared as an emergency sector during COVID-19 and is contributing significantly in terms of connecting people to what matters most.’
Besides, the telecom operators are considered as an important vehicle to speed up the digitisation journey, he said, adding that the operators were continuously expanding their footprint and connecting the unconnected citizens.
‘We believe, rationalising the taxation systems will accelerate the digital journey as well as will help us to contribute more towards the national exchequer,’ Sadat said.
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