The National Board of Revenue has finalised a ‘negative list’ containing 21 types of products like consumable and locally available goods for import of which power plants will not get duty benefits.
Customs wing of the revenue board is going to issue a single statutory regulatory order containing the list and scrapping all previous SROs and explanations on tax exemption on permanent import of plants, equipments, spare parts and temporary import of erection materials by power plants to prevent misuse of duty benefits.
The products included in the draft ‘negative list’ are steel sheet and steel pipe below certain grade, steel rod, cement, boulder stone, pre-fabricated building, electric light-fittings, transmission tower, cable (except control cable, communication cable, optical fibre cable and power cable below 132kv), distribution transformer, all types of paint and varnish, household goods, all types of chemicals, lubricating oil, transformer oil, office equipments and furniture, air conditioner below 2 lakh BTU, dredger, anchor boat and motor vehicles.
Officials said that both public and private power plants had been enjoying exemption from payment of customs duty, regulatory duty, value-added tax and supplementary duty on import of the items under two separate SROs issued in 1997 and 2000 and some explanations of the revenue board issued time-to-time.
But, in recent times both power plants and customs officials have faced a number of complexities in releasing the imported items under the existing SROs, they said.
Customs officials have also detected misuse of the existing SROs as there is no eligible or ineligible list for exemption, they said.
NBR through two explanations issued in 2017 and 2019, however, said that consumable products, household items, furniture, steel sheet and some other products which were not involved with, or required for power generation would not get the duty benefit.
The revenue board also said that customs houses would inform the NBR before release of items imported under the benefit if they found any possibility of duty evasion.
But, in recent times some companies have imported many items including pre-fabricated building, boulder stone, MS rod, steel structure, paints, cables, transformer oil and other consumable items under the duty benefits by submitting certificates taken from Power Division, the officials said.
They said that NBR in the past year formed a committee incorporating officials from customs houses, Power Division and private stakeholders to review the existing SROs and explanations and recommend the list of eligible or ineligible products for the exemption.
The NBR finalised the ‘negative list’ in line with the recommendation of the committee, they added.
According to the draft SRO, power plants will have to import the permanently-importable plants and equipments before the start of commercial generation of power.
Power plants will be allowed to import spare parts worth highest 10 per cent of total value of plants and equipments for the period of up to 12 years from the date of commercial production.
NBR may allow import of some quantity of consumable products with certain specifications before the start of commercial production based on recommendations of the certifying authorities and approval of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, the draft SRO said.
Customs officials said that a summary of the SRO had been sent to the finance minister for his approval.
NBR will soon issue the SRO following completion of the procedures, they said.
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