Continue zero duty on import of newsprint
Newspaper Owners Association of Bangladesh (Noab) yesterday urged the government to continue zero tariff on import of newsprint for the sake of newspaper industry.
"We have urged the finance minister to continue zero tariff facility for import of newsprint in the next budget," Noab President Mahbubul Alam told reporters after a delegation led by him met the minister at his office.
On the Noab proposal, Finance Minister AMA Muhith told journalists, "I have collected information from them but did not give them the government position. We will take a decision in this regard later."
He said, "Our general policy is if our produce is of good quality, and price is also internationally competitive, it will be given protection."
Muhith said they (Noab leaders) told him that the quality of local newsprint is not good, and it is not supplied regularly. Two types of newsprint are produced locally, and this creates problem in printing newspaper, he quoted them as saying.
They also told the minister that the price of locally produced newsprint is higher than that of imported ones.
Mahbubul Alam told journalists, "We have also told the minister that though the seventh wage board award (for newspaper industry) has been implemented, the rate of government advertisements has not been increased accordingly. Payment of advertisement bills is also delayed for long."
News Today Editor Reazuddin Ahmed, Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, Chairman of the New Age editorial board ASM Shahidullah Khan, Manabzamin Editor Motiur Rahman Chowdhury, Sangbad Editor Altamash Kabir and publisher of Samokal AK Azad were present at the meeting.