The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association has sought tax exemption on the destroyed finished apparel items and raw materials of the five garment factories housed in Rana Plaza building that collapsed on April 24. In a letter sent to the National Board of Revenue early last week, the BGMEA requested the NBR to remit the duties and taxes on the damaged goods of the factories — Phantom Apparels, New Wave Style, New Wave Bottom, Phantom Tac and Ether Tex.
Officials of the NBR, however, said that the factories would not get the tax waiver if the damaged incurred because of the factory owners’ fault.
More than 700 people, most of them garment workers, were killed and thousands were injured till Tuesday as eight-storey Rana Plaza collapsed at Saver.
The BGMEA, the apex trade body of apparel sector, said all of the five factories were the members of the association and all machinery, readymade garment products and raw materials under bonded warehouse facility were destroyed due to building collapse.
According to the article 115 of the Customs Act-1969, the customs authorities may remit such duties if any warehoused goods are lost or destroyed by unavoidable accident or cause.
The factory owner needs to provide the list of damaged goods to the customs authorities for getting such waiver.
The letter signed by BGMEA secretary general Ehsan Ul Fattah stated that the list could not be prepared because of nonappearance of owners and officials of the plants.
The BGMEA, however, sought the waiver on behalf of the owners, the letter said.
According to the customs act, export-oriented RMG sector enjoys bonded warehouse facility under which exporters can import machinery and raw materials, mainly fabrics, without duties and other taxes on condition that they will export all products produced by using those raw materials. Otherwise they will have to pay duties and taxes like commercial importers pay.
Currently, commercial fabrics importers are to pay around 131 per cent duties and taxes including import duty, supplementary duty and value-added tax.
An NBR official told New Age on Tuesday that according to the law, factory owners could get such tax waiver but the NBR would have to wait for the government inquiry report to examine whether the loss occurred because of the owners’ fault.
He said according to primary information, garment factories could have avoided the damage if they took away their products on the day before the accident as BRAC Bank, also housed in the building, did.
-With New Age input