Mobile phone users may see a hike in the prices of new handsets in the coming fiscal year as the government is likely to slap a 15 percent value-added tax at the import stage, finance ministry officials said.
The move comes at a time when handset imports are rising with growing numbers of mobile subscribers.
The number of mobile phone subscribers rose to 11.56 crore in April from 9.06 crore two years ago, according to data from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
The number of mobile handset imports rose to about 2 crore in 2013 from 1.3 crore the previous year; and about 98 lakh mobile handsets were imported in 2011, according to BTRC.
Currently, a 10 percent customs duty is applicable on the import of mobile phones.
The move is planned in line with the goal to enforce the new VAT law from July 2015, when a flat 15 percent rate of VAT will be applicable at the import stage, revenue officials said.
Market operators said the mobile handset market is growing in terms of quantity, with a section of users switching to smartphones.
A specific duty of Tk 3,000 may be put on the import of gold bars weighing one bhori or 11.66 grams under the baggage rules in fiscal 2014-15, rising from Tk 150 at present.
A senior customs official said gold imports have shot up under the baggage rules in the outgoing fiscal year after India, one of the world's biggest consumers of gold, raised the duty to 10 percent on gold imports.
In July-March, Bangladeshi migrants or people travelling abroad brought home 1,016 kilograms of gold under the baggage rules. Besides, the seizures of smuggled gold also shot up in the outgoing fiscal year, compared to the previous years.
Some 673 kilograms of gold were smuggled into Bangladesh in July-March, according to National Board of Revenue.
"We expect that the increase in duty will reduce the use of Bangladesh as a transit for gold smuggling," said a senior official at Dhaka Customs.