The duty proposed on smartphones will push up illegal imports and cause big revenue losses for the government, industry stakeholders say.
Costlier illegal imports will drain out a huge amount of money from the country, Bangladesh Mobile Phone Business Association (BMBA) said today.
Their comments come in purview of the government proposing to hike the supplementary duty on imported smartphones to 25 per cent from existing 10 in the budget for fiscal 2019-20. Also, some other taxes have been increased.
Currently importers pay about 30.75 per cent in taxes, and if this budget passed, they will have to pay 57.31 percent tax, they said.
“We estimate, the government will lose Tk 2,000 crore in taxes for illegal imports,” Md Nizam Uddin Jitu, president of BMBA, in the press conference at National Press Club.
“The government is trying to promote local assembly of smartphones. But, it will only benefit a few persons,” he said reflecting on the budget.
“Give us two more years and within that time we will set up another 15 to 20 plants. If the government increase taxes then, it will benefit the country,” he added.
Currently five plants have launched in the country and they are assembling about 30 percent of the country’s total yearly demand of three crore handsets.
Speakers said, currently there are more than nine crore active internet connections in the country and of them about 95 percent are using internet through mobile phone. If smartphone costs increase, it will hinder government’s digital Bangladesh vision.
Representatives from different mobile brands who are mainly importing mobile devices were also present in the press conference.