The government offered exemption worth Tk 44,117 crore in customs duty and other taxes related to import in the last fiscal year 2017-2018.
The aggregated amount of tax exemption given at import stage to traders and other commercial and non-commercial individuals and organisations stood at Tk 1.48 lakh crore in the last 55 months (around four and half years), according to finance ministry data.
Officials said that National Board of Revenue prepared the data at the instruction of finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.
Kamal sought the data to get an idea of overall duty exemption situation before the preparation of the national budget for the upcoming FY 2019-2020 and to see whether there was any exemption given unnecessarily, they said.
NBR offered the exemption to various sectors including businesses, investors, defence sector, diplomatic missions and members of parliament.
According to NBR data, the sectors availed duty benefits worth Tk 27,108 crore in the first seven months (July-January) of the current FY 2018-2019.
The sectors enjoyed duty waiver worth Tk 32,115 crore in FY 2016-2107, Tk 23,288 core in FY 2015-2016 and Tk 21,071 crore in FY 2014-2015.
NBR offered the highest amount of tax exemption worth Tk 17,381 crore in forms of special exemption to importers, mainly businesses, after taking special approval of the government, in FY 2018.
Investors enjoyed second highest duty exemption worth Tk 10,517 crore in import of capital machinery while they got exemption worth Tk 2,818 crore in import of raw materials in the year.
NBR also gave the third highest duty exemption worth Tk 8,187 crore to defence organisations in the import of defence items including arms, ammunitions, vehicles and equipment under the Defence Stores Memo issued in 1981.
International passengers got tax waiver worth Tk 841 crore on import of items including gold under baggage rule.
Members of parliament enjoyed duty exemption worth Tk 222 crore on import of car and jeep vehicle while diplomatic missions had also been waived payment of duties and taxes valued Tk 472 crore in the year.
It could not be known in the import of how many cars the MPs availed the benefit.
MPs, however, received duty exemption on import of cars and jeeps under duty-free import facility worth Tk 1,598 crore in last four and half years up to January 2019.
The amount of exemption received by MPs was Tk 644 crore in FY 2015, Tk 247 crore in FY 2016, Tk 396 crore in FY 2017.
In July-January, they also availed the benefit worth Tk 89 crore.
Other beneficiaries of duty exemption include pharmaceutical industries for import of raw materials, mobile manufacturers, computer manufacturers, textile industries, poultry feed manufacturers, shipbuilding industry and trade under South Asian Free Trade Area.
NBR also gave duty waiver worth Tk 86 crore on imports of goods for president of the country in the year and Tk 580 crore on import of goods for other sectors.
In the first seven months of the current fiscal year, the amount of special exemption was Tk 12,653 crore, exemption for capital machinery was Tk 6,604 crore followed by Tk 2,283 crore on import of raw materials, the data showed.
Duty exemption on import of raw materials including fabrics given to 100 per cent export-oriented industries under bonded warehouse licences has not been included in the calculation as the goods are used in manufacturing of products for export.
According to Policy Research Institute, export-oriented industries enjoyed tax exemption worth Tk 34,880 crore in import of raw materials in FY 2017 under the bonded warehouse benefit.
Readymade garment industries availed the highest 96 per cent or Tk 33,612 crore in exemption in taxes and duties through duty-free import of raw materials in the year.
Officials said that NBR offered exemption to investors, traders and other sectors from payment of duties and taxes including customs duty, supplementary duty, regulatory duty, value-added tax to encourage industrialisation, job creation and overall economic growth in the country.
The tax authorities, however, are adopting a policy of not providing any types of exemption without proper and strong ground, they said.
Kamal is also in favour of avoiding unnecessary exemption, they added.
Source: New Age.