The NBR will hold a pre-budget meeting with the sector representatives this week to discuss the issues and to hear the logic for cut in tax at source

Bangladesh frozen foods exporters or want tax at source be slashed to 0.3{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} from the existing 0.6{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} in the next fiscal year’s budget.

NBR said the tax cut is necessary for the sector to stay competitive in the global market. The exporters said they sought the tax benefits as the production cost went up due to lack of sufficient supply of shrimps.

The sector people can now utilize only 15{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} of the installed capacity as they did not have enough supply of shrimps.

The fluctuation of exchange rates and devaluation of euro, ruble and yen against US dollars leave them in tougher competition in the global market, according to the insiders.

Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association placed a set of demands before the National Board of Revenue for the upcoming budget. The demands were placed through the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The NBR will hold a per-budget meeting with the sector representatives this week to discuss the issues and to hear the logic for cut in tax at source.

BFFEA also demanded withdrawal of 5{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} advance income tax on cash incentive for frozen foods export.

NBR demanded withdrawal of 4{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} VAT on packing materials, fuel and lubricant, chemical and detergent, ice purchase and uniform and liveries, and 4.5{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} VAT waiver on carriage inwards and outwards.

BFFEA urged the government to withdraw 15{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} VAT on fuel and lubricant, repair and maintenance, traveling and conveyance, staff’s food, courier and postage, printing and stationery and survey fees.

“Frozen foods sector doesn’t depend on any raw materials import and adds 100{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} value. The garment industry is dependent on raw material imports and pay 0.60{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} tax at source. Although the frozen foods sector adds full value, it has pay same tax at source as garment industry,” BFFEA Senior Vice President Kazi Belayet Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune.

“We want 0.3{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} tax at source to remain competitive in the global market.”

Talking about other challenges in the sector, Kazi Belayet said the system of customs inspection of return cargo is very time-costly and the payment through foreign currency for buying packaging materials are major challenges for the sector people.

According to the Export Promotion Bureau data, Bangladesh earned $536m exporting frozen and fresh fish in the last fiscal year, which was 5.68{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} lower compared to $568m in the previous year.

The country fetched $358m by exporting fresh and frozen fish in the July-January period of the FY2016-17, which is 3.89{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} less compared to $372m in the same period a year ago.