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NOAB demands tax cut on newsprint to save newspaper industry

Press 2024-02-04, 10:59pm


Newsprint rolls

Dhaka, Feb 4 - The Newspaper Owners Association of Bangladesh (NOAB) said that in the age of digital media, newspapers are struggling to survive with the huge cost of newsprint and other printing items. 

The leaders of NOAB urged the revenue board that there is a need for reforms in the customs and taxation policy for the newspaper industry. 

The NOAB President AK Azad said this during the pre-budget discussion for the fiscal year 2024-25, held at the conference room of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) at Agargaon on Sunday. 

Azad said that the current state of the global economy, especially the rising exchange rate of the US Dollar, has brought the industry to its knees. A ton of newsprint cost less than US $600 a few years ago, now it's over $700. 

“One of the main reasons for this is the adverse exchange rate of US dollars. The import duty of newspapers is 5 percent, but with 15 percent VAT, advance income tax, transport insurance, etc., the landed cost comes to about 30 percent,” he said. 

He urged to reduce different types of tax, VAT, and customs on importing newsprint for the sake of surviving the newspaper industry. 

“The government has not taken any of our suggestions to develop the newspaper industry in the past few years. May our proposals be taken into account in this year's budget,” said AK Azad. 

Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam said, “Paying tax is a universal global practice. If you look at other countries how newspapers are branding, how revenue is taken from it.” 

“As far as I know newspapers are treated differently in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Their taxes are even lower,” he said. 

NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem assured consideration of NOAB's proposal. 

He said that if any advantage is given, another group is ready to abuse it. If the price of paper or import duty is reduced for newsprint, all papers will come under the cover of newsprint. 

“It has happened in the past too. It is not possible to figure out how much paper is coming for newsprint. We want to work for this,” said the NBR chairman. 

Appreciating the role of media in increasing revenue, the NBR chairman said, the media are doing an awareness campaign to increase tax- GDP and tax rate. - UNB