Leather goods and footwear exporters yesterday urged the government to allow their trade body to issue utilisation declaration certificates in the next fiscal year to help them cut extra costs and avoid harassment.
“We want the same UD facility that garment trade bodies are enjoying to boost leather goods exports,” said M Abu Taher, chairman of Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters' Association.
Such exporters are now importing raw materials—chemicals and shoe accessories—through supervised bond by paying a high charge, he said. The National Board of Revenue has recently increased the service fee of the supervised bond to Tk 6.04 lakh from Tk 1.88 lakh, according to the association.
His appeal came at a budget discussion with NBR Chairman Ghulam Hussain at the revenue authority's head office in Dhaka.
A member of the association alleged that they have to pay Tk 3,000 to the offices of the Bond Commissionerate for every utilisation permission certificate, although there is no government processing fee for using the service.
"As a result, many companies are not being able to expand their business," said Taher.
The leather sector has “immense potential” to increase its export earnings, he said, adding that the country can earn around $10 billion within the next five years from the sector if necessary policy support is provided.
The industry earned $980.67 million last fiscal year by exporting leather and leather products, up 28.2 percent year-on-year, according to the Export Promotion Bureau.
In the first eight months of the fiscal year, the export of leather and leather products and footwear rose 39.46 percent to $847.68 million, it said.
At the event, Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries urged the NBR to exempt the 15 percent VAT on kidney dialysis solution at the production level.
The local pharmaceutical companies are producing the required amount of kidney dialysis solution and considering the fact that the kidney patients have to do dialysis every week, the government should lift such VATs, said MA Maleque Chowdhury, a representative of BAPI.
The pharmaceutical industry also demanded that the government allows them to send samples at least 10 percent of the total export orders without paying any VAT.
Bangladesh Jewellers' Samity, a platform of jewellery shop owners, demanded a cutback on sales tax of gold ornaments from 2 percent to 1.5 percent.
They also urged the government to make a gold policy immediately in a bid to reduce gold smuggling.
The Bangladesh Private Medical College Association also urged the government to exempt the 15 VAT on tuition fees and withdraw the $1,000 admission fee for foreign students.
At the event, Hussain said the country needs higher tax revenue for development and around 40 percent of the tax revenue now comes from VAT, he said.