In the wake of widespread protests by the business community, Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Wednesday said there will be some changes in the new VAT law.
“I’m thinking about giving some relief… some amendments may come (in next budget) …I’m’ still considering a change,” he told reporters in response to a query at a programme in the city.
Muhith was inaugurating a mobile VAT Online Helpdesk at the National Board of Revenue (NBR) office.
The government is planning to implement the new VAT law — ‘VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012’ — from the next fiscal year.
Experts have expressed concern that the uniform 15 percent VAT will increase the already high cost of living in the country.
On April 30 last, business leaders had a heated debate with Finance Minister Muhith during a meeting between the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and NBR over the implementation of a new VAT law, with the businesspeople threatening to take to the streets.
Regarding the helpdesk, Muhith said there will be minibuses that will roam around markets and carry out online VAT registration for businessmen. Seven such vans will be launched in Dhaka, while two in Chittagong.
The new law envisages a uniform 15 percent VAT instead of the existing multiple rates now applicable for many goods and services.
The NBR, however, maintains that the new law will not increase the prices of goods in general as businesses will get rebates.