The proposed budget recommends a 25% tariff on the import of raw materials needed for the country's printing, publishing, and packaging industries, but industries in this sector have demanded a maximum tariff of 5% for these raw materials.
Suddenly imposing a high tariff will almost double the price of all paper-based products including books, notebooks, and packaging cartons, and industries in this sector will face immense difficulties, say traders.
If the tariffs on these raw materials are not reasonable, unscrupulous businessmen might evade taxes for these goods, resulting in a loss of government revenue, said seven business organisations at a press conference in a hotel in the capital on Wednesday.
The Bangladesh Local Cartoon Manufacturers Association (BLCMA), Printing Industries Association of Bangladesh (PIAB), Bangladesh Paper Importers Association (BPIA), Bangladesh Paper Merchants Association (BPMA), Bangladesh Textbook Printers and Marketing Association, Bangladesh Book Publishers and Sellers Association (BBPSA), and the Packaging Industries Association of Bangladesh jointly organised the press conference.
Duplex boards, art paper, art cards, kraft liner paper, high quality printing ink, printing plates and binding glue, are used for a large number of products manufactured by a wide range of industries. There is a huge demand for these materials that are not produced in Bangladesh.
The 10,000 tons of 230 GSM art card required for the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) is not produced in our country either.
"The government has set a 5% duty on the import of plastic raw materials not produced in our country. Similarly, our imported high quality raw materials (paper and paper boards) are also not produced in the country, so a 5% duty on import of these materials is deemed essential in the public interest and for revenue growth," said business owners at the press conference.
If the tariff rate is set at 5%, the existing chaos in the process of importing these products will come to an end and revenue will increase greatly by preventing misuse of the bonded warehouse facility, said the traders.
Md Amin Helaly, vice president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), delivered a speech at the press conference.
Shafiqul Islam Vorosha, president of BPIA; Shahid Serniabat, chairman of PIAB; Rabbani Jabbar, director of FBCCI; Mohammad Belal, general secretary, Chattogram Paper and Cellophane Traders Group; Md Jewel, vice president of BPMA; Shyamal Pal, vice-president of BBPSA, and Basar Patwari, president of BLCMA, were present at the press conference.