Software developers are going to propose to the central bank to introduce a special card to help them bear the expenditure on digital marketing through social media platforms such as Facebook and Google.
The proposal is part of a draft policy on digital marketing spending which the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) is set to place before Bangladesh Bank within the next few days.
“Digital marketing is the lifeline for digital companies and we want a proper policy support from the government that will ensure transparency of the industry and secure government revenue from this sector,” BASIS President Syed Almas Kabir told The Daily Star after attending a meeting with Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday.
Molla Nazrul Islam, special superintendent of the CID, chaired the meeting.
Currently, BASIS members use two cards to bear the expenditure for purchasing software, webhosting and travelling. Some member-companies use the cards for digital marketing as there is no policy to this effect, according to Kabir, who led the team of the BASIS standing committee for digital marketing at the meeting.
One of the cards allows a company to spend $12,000 and the other $30,000 per year.
“We need a policy first. Then the authorities can go for tough action,” Kabir said.
The CID has recently launched an investigation into payments made by local digital companies for advertisements on social media sites.
The agency has collected documents about the top 10 e-commerce companies: daraz.com, ajkerdeal.com, pickaboo.com, bikroy.com, foodpanda.com.bd, chaldal.com, rokomari.com, sheba.xyz, othoba.com, and khaasfood.com. Most of these companies are BASIS members and are experiencing uneasiness because of the CID's investigation, prompting the trade body to initiate a move to resolve the tension.
The market size for digital campaign is more than Tk 1,000 crore in Bangladesh.
The BASIS also plans to propose that the National Board of Revenue cut value-added tax on digital campaigns so that small companies can run ads on social media sites, Kabir said.
“We have shared all our plans with the CID and it will give us some feedback within the next couple of days which we will incorporate in our proposals to the Bangladesh Bank,” he said.
A senior official of the CID who attended the meeting says the agency's main aim is to ensure government revenue as many companies dodge tax through different processes.
Though the CID has collected documents of about only 10 companies, there are hundreds of companies who dodge tax, he said.
Muhammad Risalat Siddique, chairman of the standing committee of the BASIS on digital marketing, KAM Rashedul Mazid, co-chairman, and Didarul Alam Sunny, a director of the trade body, were also present in the meeting.