The National Board of Revenue (NBR) reduced value added tax on the import of coal for power plants to 5 percent from present 15 percent for five years until June 2025 to allow electricity generation at lower costs, according to a notification issued on Tuesday.
The exemption is being offered at a time when three coal-fired power plants are being established in the public sector and one in Payara in the southern district of Patuakhali is likely to start producing around 660 megawatts of electricity next month.
Apart from this, four private sector coal-based power plants are in the process of being established, according to the minutes of a meeting between the NBR and Power Division in August this year.
A huge amount of coal would be required once these power plants go into operation.
The NBR said there were no customs and other duty for coal import.
After the VAT cut to 5 percent, a 5 percent advance tax and 5 percent advance income tax will still be applicable for private sector power plants.
Public sector power plants will need to pay only the 5 percent VAT to import coal, said an NBR official requesting anonymity.
As coal accounts for nearly 65 percent of the electricity production cost, a reduction in the VAT rate will bring down the cost of generation, said the meeting minutes.
Considering the issue, the NBR has decided to slash the VAT on coal import to help reduce the production cost, another NBR official had said earlier.
In its Tuesday’s notification, the tax administrator attached conditions for coal power plants to import coal.
Power producers will have to submit recommendation letters from Power Division to customs stations during release of coal.
Importers will also need to furnish a bill of entry, it said. A bill of entry is an account of goods entered at a customhouse, of imports and exports, detailing the merchant, quantity of goods, their type, and place of origin or destination.
The tax authority earlier provided duty benefit for the import of furnace oil, which is used in electricity generation, and liquefied natural gas.
The NBR in July 2013 offered a 15-year tax waiver for electricity generation with coal.
Companies that will sign contracts with the government by June 30, 2020 to establish coal power plants will receive the tax break on income from electricity generation, according to the notification issued at that time.