Inter-ministerial meeting ends inconclusive

July 28, 2014

Sim Replacement Tax
Inter-ministerial meeting ends inconclusive
Muhith to sit with telcos before making decision
An inter-ministerial meeting on the National Revenue Board’s claim of about Tk 3,011 crore SIM replacement tax from the mobile phone companies ended inconclusive on Sunday.
Finance minister AMA Muhith presided over the meeting at his office where posts and telecommunications minister Latif Siddique, NBR chairman Ghulam Hussain and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman Sunil Kanti Bose were also present.
Meeting sources said Muhith would sit with the mobile operators on the issue before making any decision amid hectic lobby by the operators with the government.
‘The meeting ended without any decision and the finance ministry will sit again on the matter,’ a senior official of the telecom ministry told New Age after the meeting.
He said a number of calculation methods were presented in the meeting that highlighted different amount of tax claims for the government.
The BTRC on several occasions changed the calculation method which resulted in different tax amount, the official said.
NBR officials said the mobile operators were running hefty lobby with the finance ministry to reduce the tax amount.
An NBR committee on SIM replacement tax in its final report in April stuck to its claim for Tk 3,010.99 crore in tax from four mobile operators — Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink and Airtel.
The NBR has been demanding the amount in tax since early 2012 claiming that the operators had dodged the tax through selling old SIMs to new clients.
The mobile phone companies, however, denied the allegation saying that they did not sell any SIM to new client but replaced the old SIMs of the original customers.
BTRC and NBR officials feared that the original claim of Tk 3,010.99 crore might come down remarkably following the lobby of the mobile operators.
‘The operators are lobbying with government high-ups and the original claim might not sustain as the final decision would be a political one,’ a senior NBR official told New Age.

-With New Age input

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