Industry

Telecom operators want business-friendly tax system

Policymakers and stakeholders of the telecom sector have called for a business-friendly tax policy.

They were addressing a policy dialogue on telecom tax policy and ecosystem organised by the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh and the Bangladesh Internet Governance Forum in the capital Wednesday.

Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar said: “I think we failed to convince the National Board of Revenue about the negative impact of high taxes on telecom operators. We need to think about a digital civilisation where taxation will have to be rational.”

“Compared to our neighbouring countries, the tax on Bangladesh’s mobile sector is considerably higher. However, the operators’ return on investment is insufficient. Their average income per user is lower, while the cost of mobile voice and mobile internet is one of the lowest in the world,” said Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer of Robi Axiata.

“We intend to offer a variety of new forms of low-cost services. But taxes make it harder for us to sustain ourselves.”

Grameenphone CCAO (Acting) Hossain Sadat said: “We have tried to draw our attention to policymakers to address the high tax issue.”

“We need to remove irrational tax disparity. The good industry should be lower-taxed. For digital inclusion to the grass-root level, we need to tax rationalisation.”

However, Shyam Sunder Sikder, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, said: “The telecom sector not only provides services but also contributes to the country’s economic growth. So, our favourable attitudes towards them will always continue.”

“We make decisions after consulting with the operators.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh