June 21, 2009

Government to Review Mobile Duty, SIM Tax

In recently placed budget for 2009-2010, Government had empathized to develop ICT industry in order to achieve the dream of Digital Bangladesh. This idea is greatly appreciated by the people related to ICT. There is no question that, in current situation, a developing country like Bangladesh has no alternative other than ICT to hold her feet strongly in the map of the world. We are glad that government recognizes the fact.

However, the proposed budget doesn’t reflect the real picture of eagerness for ICT development. Earlier, in series of posts I criticized government decisions to
impose 25% tax on mobile phone handsets which is contradictory to the dream of Digital Bangladesh. Moreover, no announcement came about reduction in SIM card tax which was expected by all. In past few days, people related to these industries raised their concern. Mobile Operators Calls for SIM Tax Waiver and Mobile Phone Importers Criticize New Tax in two separately organized press conferences.

It looks like the criticism has finally paid off. Finance minister AMA Muhith said he is reconsidering the proposed import duty on mobile phone sets and SIM tax. He was speaking at a dialogue on 'State of the Bangladesh economy and budget reaction 2009-10' organized by Centre for Policy Dialogue on Saturday.
Regarding the raised duty on mobile sets and maintaining the old SIM tax, he said: "I personally apologize." The finance minister in his proposed budget, unveiled on June 11, set a 25 percent duty on imported mobile sets, in place of a flat rate of Tk 300, while proposed SIM tax remains at Tk 800 as it was before—drawing protests from the telecom sector.


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