Published:  12:48 AM, 15 June 2019

Budget undermines telcos' contribution: AMTOB

Budget undermines telcos' contribution: AMTOB

The Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB), the trade body of the country's mobile service providers, said the proposed national budget has undermined the contribution of the telecom industry to the implementation of the vision of Digital Bangladesh.In an official statement AMTOB issued yesterday, the association said the proposal to raise supplementary duty from 5 percent to 10percent will only add to the burden on the citizens.

AMTOB termed the incremental supplementary duty on mobile phone uses a "suicidal decision"."Instead of lending a hand to the struggling yet vital industry, the government has decided to add to the back-breaking tax structure. We feel disheartened and completely heartbroken at this suicidal decision," it said. Claiming that the telecom sector in Bangladesh is saddled with the highest tax burden in the world, AMTOB general secretary SM Farhad said, 'The damaging impact of the tax burden has resulted in three operators out of the total four at the moment to languish in loss for year after year."

"The imposition of minimum tax of 0.75% on turnover so far meant that the investors of these three operators were forced to pay 0.75% of their revenue even though they were making loss. We are in utter dismay to find that this unjust tax has been proposed to be raised to 2% of turnover from 0.75%," the statement said. AMTOB said it is widely acknowledged that the country stands in the cusp of the complete implementation of the Digital Bangladesh vision thanks to the massive investment put in by the telecom operators.

It said the increase in the SIM tax from Tk 100 to Tk 200 will double the burden on the industry. "It must be noted that the industry is in the process of connecting the underprivileged segment of the society to Digital Bangladesh, in this context, slapping of this additional supplementary duty and doubling of the SIM tax will only stall the progress in attaining the sustainable development goals (SDGs)," the release added.The association hope expressed the hope that the government will reverse its proposal in favor of the industry.

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