The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has decided to resolve complexities regarding import of power sector equipment by preparing an integrated list of the products that are eligible for enjoying exemption from payment of duties and taxes, officials said.
The decision came in a recent meeting, chaired by the NBR Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, following evidences of import of some consumables and goods of other categories with the power sector equipments in a bid to evade duty, they also said.
Commissioners of all major customs houses, and representatives of the Power Division and power plants attended the meeting, held last week on the NBR premises.
The customs houses have found tendency of abusing duty-free facility through import of some other products as power sector equipments by obtaining certificates from the Power Division.
Customs commissioners have found other products, like - MS rod, anchor boat, river dredger, bolder stones, paints, and transformer oil etc, are being imported with the power equipments claiming duty-free facility.
They are smelling intention of commercial import of these items by some vested quarters by evading duty and abusing the facility offered for power equipments.
Representatives of the Power Division said they issue certification for power equipments only, and not for other related products.
The meeting decided that a high-powered committee, comprising officials from the NBR's Customs Wing and the Power Division along with representatives of the government agencies concerned and private sector power plants, will prepare an integrated list of products for the duty benefit.
The eight-member committee, headed by the customs member (policy and ICT), will review the existing statutory regulatory orders (SROs) to make list of the power equipments that are entitled to enjoy the duty benefit at import stage, said the minutes of the meeting.
The NBR has also decided to release only the essential equipments for power production from the customs ports with certification of the Power Division.
The board has instructed the customs commissioners to ensure proper release of the power equipments under duty benefit.
However, import of pre-fabricated building, boulder stone, MS rod, steel plant, steel structure, construction materials, anchor boat, different types of vehicles, consumables and distribution type transformers will not be allowed to get tax benefit.
In a SRO on 19 March 1997, the NBR exempted all duties and taxes on import of equipments that are necessary for producing power in private and public sectors.
The NBR issued a clarification on the SRO in February 2019, asking the customs commissioners to draw attention of the NBR after releasing the goods, if they find any possibility of duty-tax loss through import of the power sector equipments.
Customs commissioners said confusion created due to issuance of the clarification on release of goods due to absence of a list of the power equipments that are eligible to enjoy the duty benefit.
In the meeting, the NBR decided to scrap that clarification, and issue a comprehensive list of equipments to get the benefit.
The list of power sector equipments in the SROs issued in 1997 and 2000 will be included in the comprehensive list of products, the meeting sources said.
In the meeting, the commissioner of Paira Customs House expressed his concern over import of a river dredger and an anchor boat as power sector equipments.
The commissioner of Mongla Customs House also echoed him, citing reports on import of rod, boulder, steel sheet and other construction materials in the name of power sector equipments.