Prime Minister's Private Sector Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman said for easing the import duty on cars of high CC so that more revenue can be generated. Currently, the government collect 5,000 crore taka as revenue from import of cars but it can be reached to 10,000 crore taka to 15,000 crore taka if the tax is lowered, especially on import of high CC cars.
Rahman made this remark at a webinar on "Car Market in Bangladesh: Challenges and Prospects" organized by the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) on Wednesday. The private industry and investment adviser said, the government will facilitate the potential investors for manufacturing of electrical cars in the country as different countries of the world have been coming out from the traditional fossil fuel or petrol burned cars.
He said, "We should go for new technologies." He also said, he has already talked with the German's Volkwagen Company to set up electrical car manufacturing unit in Bangladesh. If any company wants to set up any electrical car manufacturing plant in Bangladesh, the government will even give the land free of cost." The government is not encouraging any company to set up car manufacturing plants in Bangladesh with old technologies, Rahman added. "The car business needs to be taken to a new level. We should concentrate more on electrical cars. If we do not move fast we will miss the bus. We should leapfrog. We should leave the petrol cars. That's the approach we should consider," the adviser also said.
He said Bangladesh will have to be forced to move away from the overdependence on customs duty as the economy needs to be opened up to be linked with other countries. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has been formed and Free Trade Agreements are also being signed by different countries and they are opening up their economies, Rahman informed. While presenting the keynote paper of the webinar, PRI Executive Director Dr Ahsan H Mansur also echoed with the views of Salman F Rahman. He said, "Solar and power based automobile manufacturing plants need to be set up in the country. We have to leapfrog." World Bank former Lead Economist Dr Zahid Hussain moderated the discussion. He said if $1 is spent in the car industry, it creates $3 value addition in the economy. Consumers need efficient, safe and eco-friendly cars, he added.
National Board of Revenue (NBR) former Chairman Dr Muhammad Abdul Mazid said, the car industry has the potential to grow a lot if the new investment is made targeting the both local and export markets as well as the backward linkage industries. Policy Exchange of Bangladesh Chairman Dr Masrur M Reaz said, the demand for electrical cars in the world will increase to $1.2trillion soon. So, the investment in the car industry should not only focus to domestic markets but also to foreign markets.
Car industry is a diverse sector in the country's economy, Dr Reaz added. NBR Member (Customs Policy and ICT) Syed Golam Kibria said, the duty on car import at 128 percent and 827 percent might be reviewed as the structure is high.
He also said the duty on import of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) and Completely Built Knocked (CBU) might be reviewed in the budget for next fiscal year.
The Industries Ministry Joint Secretary Anwarul Alam said, the government will take the opinions from different stakeholders before the policy formulation. He said there will be an inter-ministerial meeting on the policy formulation of car industry, he added.
Among others, economists, businessmen, car importers, researchers, government high-ups and policy makers participated at the virtual meeting and exchanged their views.