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Staff Correspondent
In a bid to make Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service popular among cell phone users, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has withdrawn taxes imposed on the service.
The revenue authority on December 13 issued a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) making it clear that it would not charge any value-added tax and supplementary duty over MNP service.
The clients will now have to spend only Tk 57.5 to replace their operator under MNP service.
Currently, a user has to cost a total amount of Tk 157.5 including service charge and replacement tax.
Grameenphone’s Head of External Communications Sayed Talat Kamal in this regard told Bangladesh Post that they, as per the instruction, will charge the remaining fees for MNP service from clients.
The exchequer, however, imposed a set of guidelines for telecom operators in line with this move to keep the entire procedure transparent.
The telecom operators now have to preserve documents on ported-in and ported-out SIM numbers, and the exempted taxes on it.
The operators, as per NBR’s instruction, will be obliged to submit this document to BTRC and the VAT Commissionerate concerned.
Besides, the operators will have to preserve the names of consumers and their cell phone numbers, who have received MNP service.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission earlier urged NBR to withdraw taxes on MNP service, claiming it was putting a bar to make it popular among the general users.
The government since October 1 launched MNP, a service that allows cell phone users to change their SIM operator keeping the existing number.
BTRC then directed that the telecom operators could take Tk 50 as service charge against the change of SIM for once.
NBR then imposed 15 per cent VAT on service fee and Tk 100 as SIM replacement taxes, raising the consumers’ cost to Tk 157.5.
The government later slashed the replacement tax by Tk 100 on the service though it remains still ineffective.
However, the revenue authority did not agree to BTRC to withdraw the taxes and it recently has sent a letter to the finance minister with regard to the issue.
In the letter, NBR said the withdrawal might cause VAT evasion amounting to around Tk 50 crore annually.
It also proposed reduction in charge by Tk 50 instead of its entire withdrawal.