Businessmen at a pre-begetconsultative meeting on Monday demanded the government to fix a rational dutyat both the import and manufacturing levels of motorbike and refrigeratorsconsidering the survival of entrepreneurs in the domestic sector.
They also stressed the need forharmonization of duty and taxes at import and manufacturing levels to ensure afair business practice among the manufacturers and importers.
The meeting organised by Bangladesh Motorcycle Manufacturers andAssemblers Association (BMMAA) and Bangladesh Electronics Merchants Association(BEMA) held at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital.
Industries Minister Dilip Baruaattended the meeting as chief guest with FBCCI president AK Azad in the chair.
"We need the government'spolicy support for the motorbike industry to encourage local players so thatthey can hit achieving 100 per cent localization,"said former DCCIpresident M. Matiur Rahman. He said Bangladesh is a growing market formotorbikes and it mainly depends on import for it.
"The local motorcyclemanufacturers will need 3-5 years more time to produce a bike locally once apolicy is formulated for the industry," he said adding, "Thegovernment should offer a balance policy for the industry so that business of importersand manufactures remain unhurt."
Former DCCI chief also urged thegovernment for reducing high duty on imported motorcycles for the survival ofthe importers.
"We see that there is a hugeduty gap between the locally produced motorbikes, assembling enterprises andimported ones, which is not acceptable to us because they are serving thecustomers demands since long," he added.
According to him the duty gapbetween the locally produced motorbikes and assembling now stood at 83 per centand for refrigerator manufacturers at 122 per cent.
"The persisting gap isgiving an upper hand to the so called manufacturers although they are notcapable in meeting the demands for local customers," he observed.
The gap should be 20-30 per cent,he added.
He said the market size ofmotorbike is 3.5 lakh, and 80 per cent of the total demand is metted out fromimport.
"We are in favour of local industry. But, we do now allowduty discrimination in the name ofprotecting local industry," said FBCCI President AK Azad.
He added: "We want to helpflourish the local industry and at the same, we will also work to save theinterest of the entrepreneurs."
Dilip Barua gave a patiencehearing on the businessmen problems at the meeting and assured them to settleit through a meeting with the National Board of Revenue (NRB).
"We will sit for a meeting with the authorities of NBR soonto settle the dispute on duty related matters on the industry," he added.
Barua said the present governmentis keen to build Bangladesh as an industrialized country where dutydiscrimination will not be allowed.