Economic Reporter : Bangladesh Mobile Phone Business Association (BMBA) on Wednesday said that the duty proposed on smartphones will push up illegal imports and cause big revenue losses for the government. It also requested the government to retain the existing 10 percent import duty on smartphones. In a post-budget press conference at the National Press Club, the trade body said the proposed 25 percent import duty in the budget for fiscal 2019-20 would not only encourage illegal imports causing big revenue losses of government, but also impede the vision of Digital Bangladesh. BMBA said with the existing 10 percent import duty, currently importers pay about 31.75 percent in taxes, and if the proposal for 25 percent is passed, they will have to pay 57.31 percent tax. "We are predicting, the government would lose Taka 2,000 crore revenue due to illegal imports for the proposed tax," said Md Nizam Uddin Jitu, President of BMBA. BMBA, however, thanked the government as it is trying to promote locally assembled smartphones. But, it opined this is not the proper time to rely fully on local assemblers. The BMBA rather suggested the government allow the local importers and entrepreneurs two more years' time to set up another 15 to 20 plants. "If the government then goes to hike duty, it would benefit the country," added BMBA. Currently, five firms are assembling about 30 percent of the country's annual demand of three crore handsets.
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