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“Bidi Shilpa Malik Samity” urged for a realistic duty structure

“Bidi Shilpa Malik Samity” urged for a realistic duty structure

Dhaka-Bangladesh Bidi Shilpa Malik Samity yesterday urged the government for implementing a just-based and realistic duty structure and to withdraw the duty imposed on bidi products in the proposed budget for the fiscal 2016-17.Demanding equal facilities like other tobacco products including cigarettes, they said the Advance Income Tax (AIT) should be set as same as that imposed on cigarettes.
The leaders of the Samity made the demand at a post-budget press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
Mentioning that Bidi and cigarettes are similar category products but bidi is facing disparity in terms of duty structure, they said that the price slab in Bidi rose by 45 percent (from Tk 4.91 to Tk 7.10), while in case of cigarette the rise was 28 percent (from Tk 18 to Tk 23).
Besides, the supplementary duty on Bidi was proposed to increase by 5 percent (from 25 percent to 30 percent), while for cigarettes, the rate was proposed to increase by 2 percent (from 48 percent to 50 percent).
Overall duty on Bidi was proposed to rise by 62.5 percent in the budget for the next fiscal year (2016-17), but duty hiked was proposed by 31.48 percent for cigarettes, they pointed out.
They also alleged that a conspiracy has been hatched to destroy the labour-intensive Bidi industry where over 15 lakh labours are working, and hike in duty structure cannot make any significant impact on the government’s revenue, rather it forces unemployment of a large number of workers.
“A total of 33 lakh labour became jobless during last 16 years due to continuous duty hike for Bidi products,” they said, adding, the number of Bidi factories fell to 75 now, from 218 in 2000-2001.
The government’s revenue on Bidi products was Tk 333.88 crore in 2000-2001, and it remained unchanged in 2015-16, but the industry lost a big number of factories as well as unemployed 33 lakh labours from the industry, they mentioned adding, “In this context, proposing further hike in supplementary duty is frustrating.”
The minimum tax slab was increased by 13 percent for cigarettes during last 12 years from 2003-04, but the rise was 18 percent for Bidi.
Bidi industry is playing significant role in creation of jobs in the rural Bangladesh and considering that they sought government’s cooperation in protecting the industry by implementing their demands in the budget for the fiscal year 2016-17.
Present at the press conference are President of the samity and owner of Karigor Bidi Sri Bijoy Krishna Dev, Secretary of the Samity and owner of Akij Bidi Sheikh Mohiuddin, President of the Rangpur Bidi Malik Samity Md Mojibur Rahman, Senior Vice President Md Mamunur Rashid, Director of Aziz Bidi Md Emdadul Bharsha, among others.-STAFF REPORTER